House of Ruth

Wren’s Story

Wren’s Story

Wren* and her son is a survivor of domestic violence and homelessness. She has found safety and steady support in House of Ruth’s transitional housing.

Wren is coping with anxiety and trauma. Her son’s father was recently murdered, and she does not have a lot of support from her family. Thanks to you, she and her son have found a safe place to be at House of Ruth. Our staff is here to encourage Wren and to connect her to the resources she needs to move forward.

Wren has concrete, attainable dreams for herself and her son, and she is committed to reaching her goals. She already has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice, and her ultimate goal is to become an attorney. When she first arrived at House of Ruth, she quickly secured a job at a local store, and worked there while applying and interviewing at several law firms. Her efforts paid off, as she was hired as a legal assistant at a law firm in D.C. House of Ruth referred her to a partner agency where she received a wardrobe of professional clothing for her new position.

Our staff also connected Wren to outpatient counseling at House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center, where she is getting expert help in healing from trauma and addressing the anxiety she experiences. As she is able to prioritize her wellness, she knows her young son will benefit as well. Wren has enrolled him at House of Ruth’s Kidspace program, so he is now receiving enriching, trauma-informed childcare on a daily basis.

Wren is young and has her whole future ahead of her. Your generosity is enabling her to create a solid foundation for the future, and will make a long-term difference in her life and her son’s life. Thank you for being there for them and for so many survivors of domestic violence.

*Name has been changed.

Simone’s Story

Simone*, 42 years old and a mother of three children, was referred to the DVSC for therapy as required by a judge in her child custody case. A survivor of extreme physical and sexual abuse as a child and young adult, Simone never before in her life had any consistent mental health treatment. During the pandemic, the DVSC offered her counseling services over the internet, through a telehealth platform. Perhaps as a result of this new technology and the DVSC’s willingness to be flexible with a very vulnerable client, Simone has experienced by far the strongest and most consistent therapy relationship of her life and has maintained good mental health throughout a very stressful time in her life.

*Name has been changed.

2022 Charity Navigator Recognition

House of Ruth has once again been recognized with a 4-star rating! The 4-star rating is the highest possible rating and indicates the organization adheres to sector best practices and executes its mission in a financially efficient way. We are so grateful for this achievement and hope to continue to move forward in success to help our D.C community.

2022 Washington Women of Excellence

Pictured from left: Jennifer L. Porter and Mayor Muriel Bowser from the Executive Office of the Mayor; Sandra Jackson, President & CEO of House of Ruth

On Thursday, March 31, at 6 pm, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives recognized Sandra Jackson, President & CEO of House of Ruth as a Washington Women of Excellence — at an awards event. The eight honorees have all led trailblazing careers and in particular this class of women have fostered new pathways for mothers, women, and girls in the District of Columbia to thrive.

On the SAME NIGHT! Sandra Jackson was also recognized by the DC Democratic Women’s Club to honor her leadership, dedication, and service to women, children, and families of the District of Columbia. As they said, “As CEO of the renowned House of Ruth, you are among three community innovators DCDWC will recognize during our virtual Annual Women’s History Program scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 2022. The Servant Leadership Award celebrates exceptional community icons who advocate sustainability within our communities. Your leadership demonstrates the nobility of shared power, raising the needs of others and supporting individuals to develop and perform as highly as possible.”

We are so glad to have Sandra Jackson as president and CEO of House of Ruth, and proud of this well-deserved recognition.

Looking To The Future

Post by Sandra L. Jackson, President & CEO of House of Ruth

As we start to prepare for House of Ruth’s 50th anniversary, my heart and mind are full. With your help, this organization has helped so many women and children transform their lives, and heal from trauma and abuse. As we look ahead to the next 50 years, we are planning for bright futures for our clients.

House of Ruth has always been led by our client’s needs. We started housing women who had experienced homelessness, and then in conversation with many of them, realized the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness. Prior to House of Ruth, women who made the hard decision to leave an abusive situation found themselves and their children homeless. And for others the fear of being homeless prevented them from leaving. We started offering childcare because we found that if you help women — children come with them, and they need a safe, nurturing place to go as well. When learning about the traumas many of our clients have faced, we realized trauma informed counseling was a needed tool, and opened our Domestic Violence Support Center.

And now, faced with rising rents, and the increasing unaffordability of Washington, D.C., we are once again being client led to offer affordable housing to ensure our families can continue to be successful in their journey to independence. Affordable housing provides stability, supports families by liberating them from poverty, violence, physical and mental hardships and placing them on a path of new opportunities and increased confidence and self-reliance. A stable place to live means a place for families to spend time together, establishes home as a place that protects — instead of endangering — their physical and mental health. Stable housing provides the foundation necessary to prepare, support, teach and model skills for future generations. It also allows families to totally engage in communities and advocate for their communities through support of local leadership.

We are building partnerships, and reaching out to funders, and listening closely — and we realize there is a deep need for affordable housing in D.C. Not just for our clients — but for thousands of families. We hope to raise $50 million for this capital investment before our 50th anniversary in 2026. We also hope this money will help us offer between 150-200 affordable apartments.

But we are not stopping there. We are also working on partnerships to encourage home ownership — to help our clients, who have secure, reliable jobs and affordable apartments, to start saving to purchase a home. We are breaking the cycles of trauma, violence and housing insecurity for our clients (and their children) as we open the door to the knowledge of home ownership and building generational wealth for future generations.

Thank you for continuing with us on this journey; you help make all of this possible.

Jamie’s Story

Jamie* and her young son live in House of Ruth’s supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence. At House of Ruth, Jamie has found both safety and a refuge to rebuild her life. Without having to fear for her safety or the safety of her son, she has found the space to take a breath and focus on her goals. When she first arrived, Jamie was receiving unemployment benefits, coping with the emotional challenges of recent abuse, and feeling scattered as she tried to identify a direction for her next steps.

House of Ruth was here to provide safe housing, and comprehensive services for both Jamie and her son. Jamie has taken full advantage of the empowering services available to her through House of Ruth — case management, supportive counseling, group counseling, parenting support, therapeutic childcare, and more. She enrolled her son in our Kidspace childcare program, and credits Kidspace with helping him make great progress in overcoming some speech and behavioral challenges he experienced.

Jamie has overcome the past and found her way forward. With support from our staff, she identified her goals and actively began pursuing them. After completing rigorous training, Jamie acquired an excellent job working for local government. Her son is thriving, thanks to Kidspace and Jamie’s attentive focus on his needs. Jamie is actively saving money, and seeing is the benefits of this effort.

Recently Jamie was approved to transition to House of Ruth’s Bridges Program. Joining Bridges will enable Jamie to move out of House of Ruth’s site-based residential programming, and into her own apartment in the community. She will receive income-based rental assistance and supportive services from House of Ruth until she is ready to transition to full independence.

Jamie is in the process of apartment searching right now. Her journey is inspiring and we are so proud of her accomplishments in overcoming the challenges that came her way.

*Name has been changed.

Meera’s Story

Meera* has journeyed a long road to a healthy, holistic way of life.

Meera has suffered through trauma, many years of homelessness, extensive substance abuse that resulted in incarceration, and bouncing around from shelter to shelter. Finding herself tired and ill, Meera eventually decided to pursue substance abuse treatment. When she came to House of Ruth’s residential supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence, she had already been living substance-free for six months, and has continued to successfully maintain her sobriety. She is committed to attending AA meetings and speaks with her sponsor regularly.

When Meera first visited House of Ruth she didn’t know what to expect. She and her son had previously experienced living in shelters that were not very clean and offered limited support, so she was surprised to learn she would be living in a private two bedroom apartment. She said the space was beautiful, and felt both humbled and grateful for the opportunity to create her own home.

Meera places a strong focus on the energy she puts into the world, and using energy to create a better state of mind. The environment and support available at House of Ruth has enabled Meera to adjust her lifestyle to find healthier ways to cope with the challenges she has faced.

In early 2021, Meera started her own business by offering meditation and yoga online, and it has been a phenomenal success. When she posted her first video, she did not anticipate the popularity it would gain. Despite her surprise, Meera recognized the need for online services during the pandemic, and actively pursued this opportunity. She has found satisfaction in sharing her holistic values and expertise with others. In alignment with these values, Meera recently obtained a certification in permaculture.

Knowing people may shift their focus away from online experiences as the pandemic eases, Meera has concentrated on saving money. Thanks to her savings, Meera was accepted into House of Ruth’s Bridges program. She is putting in applications for her own apartment in the community. While in the Bridges program, Meera will receive income-based rental assistance and supportive services until she is ready to transition to full independence.

House of Ruth has empowered Meera with housing, case management, counseling, and more, and she has built upon this support to the best of her ability to create a meaningful, stable life for herself and her three-year-old son. Her son has demonstrated developmental challenges, and while resistant to assigning a label or diagnosis to her son, with support from her case manager, Meera has decided to seek the help of a specialist to find out how best to assist him. Her case manager is proud of Meera’s ability to re-examine the situation to the benefit of her son.

*Name has been changed.

2021 House of Ruth Holiday Wrap Up

And just like that, the holidays are over! But before we really move into the New Year, House of Ruth would love to say THANK YOU to everyone that participated in our Gifts for Families Holiday Program. With your generosity, we were able to provide every client with a gift this holiday season. With a goal of 652 gifts, we reached 416 gifts on our Target Holiday Registry. With the abundance of additional donations, we were able to give a gift to every client, in every program.

DCCADV, St. Augustine Church and the U.S Army — just to name a few, are some of the supporters that donated gifts for the women and families in House of Ruth’s programs.

We are beyond grateful for every donation, big or small. It does not go unnoticed and these gifts are deeply appreciated and cherished. As our organization continues to move forward to reach our mission to help women, children, and families dealing with homelessness, abuse, and trauma in our community, we hope to still have you all by our side as we cannot do this great work without you.

To a better year, together!

Sandra: Sharing My Story

Post by Sandra L. Jackson, President & CEO of House of Ruth

I have been blessed to learn about many of you — our most loyal donors and supporters — over the past eight years that I have been with House of Ruth. And through my monthly notes, I have tried to give you a little light into who I am. I want to be more clear this month, and help you understand who I am and why I am so driven to help the women, children and families at House of Ruth.

I always knew I wanted to help people. Maybe it has to do with my name — Sandra — which means helper of mankind. But I also know how much my mother shaped my life. She was my first role model of a social worker. She influenced my decision to pursue the helping profession and become a social worker. She instilled within me the value of service and supporting others to reach their goals. She also demonstrated hard work and a “can do” spirit. I can never remember her saying something was impossible, it was always clear there was a way to make it happen. Therefore, I push myself and yes, I push others — never asking more of others than I ask of myself. I strive for the highest goal, and I do not quit until I reach that goal.

On the other hand, I nurture my faith, and love time with my family, laughing, dancing, eating crabs and listening to the greatest music of all time — Motown. I love to go to concerts and my friends laugh at me because when some of the old groups from the Motown era are coming to town, they tease me saying “Do you really want to see one real original member (1 Temptation or 1 Top) from the original group? And I respond “yes,” because it is the spirit of the music, lyrics from the songs that speak to my soul.

I honestly believe — my life was orchestrated and ordained from the beginning. I am where I am supposed to be. There were times when things happened in my life, it was not always clear where it was leading, and I did not know how it would propel me to something better. But as I look back, I can see now what I was being set up to be, what I was supposed to learn from that experience and what vineyard I was supposed to be cultivating.

I have a great passion for children — because they are so vulnerable but have some much potential. And when their lives are nurtured and supported with healthy relationships, resources, and opportunities — they thrive and flourish. My children have had that, and I believe every child deserves that as well. So, I have made it my mission and life’s work to ensure that every child that I have the reach to touch — through my work at House of Ruth — will succeed in life.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and thank you for supporting the women, children and families at House of Ruth.

 

It always seems impossible until it’s done.
– Nelson Mandela

Aida’s Story

For two years, Aida* and her daughter have lived in House of Ruth’s permanent supportive housing for mothers and children who have escaped domestic violence and are experiencing mental health challenges.

Our staff is so proud of Aida. She is in recovery from substance abuse and has maintained her sobriety for two years. This alone is a tremendous accomplishment. Since coming to House of Ruth, she has continuously done all the right things to take care of herself and her daughter, and to rebuild their lives. Through House of Ruth, Aida found the environment she needed — a safe environment with supportive accountability that has empowered her to be her best self.

While at House of Ruth, Aida has attended therapy and remains committed to taking her medication. With support, Aida is healing from trauma. Aida has re-established her connection with her daughter, who is now in her custody. She has continuously been employed, and she is working to expunge her record. Aida is moving her life forward in the most positive ways, and the staff at House of Ruth is cheering her on.

*Name has been changed.