House of Ruth

Looking To The Future

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.

Affordable Housing: The Next Frontier!

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

As I’ve mentioned in the May, June and July notes from me to you; House of Ruth has only grown in the last 45 years in direct response to requests and needs of our clients. This is no exception — in our 12 housing programs (which you can read about in my (May note here) — we serve hundreds of women. Some of these women have taken what they need from House of Ruth — have been life coached to complete a degree, or helped to find a higher paying job; or supported in staying in a good job. Their children are flourishing at Kidspace (click here to learn more) and the women have gone to therapy (click here). They are ready to move out, and yet stay in the neighborhood which has become home. The issue? There are no apartments or homes they can afford left in D.C. They cannot get a voucher, and if they get a voucher, it is impossible to find a vacant apartment. We have heard this from client, after client, after client.

So, we are exploring affordable housing. We have received preliminary funding from the Day One Fund, and we have a knowledgeable board chair who specializes in real estate. Between myself (born and raised in D.C.); our board chair, with his knowledge of the real estate market; and loyal funders like you — we are bound and determined to offer our clients the next step in their journeys — a permanent home of their own.

Even when I started at House of Ruth in 2013, we had clients who could partner with D.C. and get help with a down-payment and purchase nearby homes. Additionally clients were able to rent apartments close to our programs; keeping their children in the same schools and themselves in the neighborhood they were comfortable in. This is certainly not possible today — prices on houses and apartments have just gone up and up; particularly during the COVID housing market.

We have looked at apartment homes as varied as 200 apartments in SE D.C. or 12 apartments in NW D.C. No matter what, I am committed to having homes that our clients and former clients can be proud of; homes that I would be willing to live in myself. This is vital to our clients’ futures … and I will be telling you more about it as the work goes on in the coming year.

Thank you for your support of our clients, and their futures.