Combatting New Point in Time Numbers Through Affordable Housing and Supportive Services

SOME has tirelessly worked to provide affordable housing solutions for people in need. In light of the recent Point in Time (PIT) count, which revealed an 11.6% increase in homelessness in DC, we remain steadfast in our commitment to addressing this pressing issue. In this blog post, we provide a walkthrough of our housing process and the accommodating services that residents are able to use to rebuild their lives.

A Pathway to Stability  

At SOME, we firmly believe that every individual deserves a safe and stable place to call home. To ensure that language and cultural barriers do not hinder access to our services, we have established multiple avenues for individuals to seek assistance. Whether through a phone call or a visit to our welcoming office, individuals are greeted by our compassionate staff who conduct thorough eligibility interviews. This initial step allows us to better understand each client’s unique circumstances and assess their suitability for our housing programs. 

We are proud to maintain a low-barrier approach and understand that to efficiently address the complex issue of homelessness requires flexibility. Outside of basic eligibility criteria (license, birth certificate, questionnaire) we ask individuals to demonstrate a commitment to sobriety by remaining clean for a minimum of six months. We believe that this requirement not only ensures a safe and supportive environment within our housing communities but also provides individuals with the best opportunity for personal growth and positive change.  

 If potential residents are not sober, your journey doesn’t end. We have comprehensive services to help people reach sobriety with inpatient and outpatient care programs. Additionally, we encourage applicants to have a stable income source, such as employment or enrollment in educational programs, as this contributes to their sense of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility.

The Journey Towards a Home 

Once individuals meet our basic eligibility criteria, we guide them through a comprehensive process that paves the way towards securing a stable home. This process involves gathering essential documents, such as identification, birth certificates for themselves and their dependents, insurance cards, and a detailed housing application. We understand that these documents play a pivotal role in establishing the necessary foundation for long-term housing stability.  

As part of our commitment to providing holistic support, applicants have the opportunity to engage in interviews with program managers responsible for the specific property they are moving into. This personalized approach enables us to better understand their unique needs, aspirations, and any additional support services that may be beneficial for their journey. We value these interactions as they allow us to establish meaningful connections with individuals, building a sense of trust and understanding. 

Throughout the application process, we work closely with property management and third-party entities to ensure all necessary paperwork, including tax credit verification, is completed. Once approved, our applicants’ housing units undergo rigorous inspections conducted by DC housing authorities, guaranteeing compliance with stringent safety and quality standards. We are committed to providing our residents with not only a roof over their heads but also a secure and nurturing environment that they can truly call home. 

Supportive Services Beyond Housing 

At SOME, our commitment to creating lasting change extends beyond housing. We recognize that a stable home is just the beginning of a transformative journey towards self-sufficiency. To support our residents’ comprehensive well-being, we provide a range of supportive services that address their unique needs. 

Case management services serve as the backbone of our support system, ensuring that individuals receive personalized attention and guidance throughout their journey. Our clinic and therapy services provide vital healthcare resources, while educational support programs cater to the specific needs of students, offering afterschool programs and senior centers that benefit both residents and the wider community. Workshops on life skills, financial literacy, and career building empower individuals to acquire the tools necessary for personal and professional growth. We also offer assistance to those seeking employment, referring them to organizations like the Center for Employment Training (CET) and conducting workshops on career development. Additionally, we support adult residents in their pursuit of education, including helping them obtain their GED.

The Significance of Supportive Services 

While affordable housing is a critical component of our mission, we firmly believe that supportive services play an equally important role in empowering individuals and families. Our aim is not merely to house people, but to give them homes that provide a strong foundation for positive change. By addressing the diverse needs of our residents, we ensure that they have access to the resources, support, and skills required to achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of homelessness.

Safety and Security: Our Top Priority 

 Ensuring the safety and security of our residents is paramount in everything we do at SOME. We understand that creating an environment where individuals feel safe is essential to foster positive transformation. All our buildings are equipped with state-of-the-art safety features, including controlled access doors and surveillance cameras that serve as deterrents to criminal activity while aiding law enforcement efforts. To provide immediate assistance during emergencies, we have live-in staff members in all our buildings who are trained to respond effectively. Additionally, our after-hours team is readily available to address property-related emergencies that may arise during overnight and weekend hours.

“Reclaiming Our Communities” Initiative 

In response to the increasing safety concerns in our communities, SOME is embarking on a transformative initiative called “Reclaiming Our Communities” (ROC). This grassroots approach empowers our staff and residents to take a proactive stance in addressing safety and security concerns across our 22 housing sites. The initiative involves comprehensive training and skill-building sessions on mediation, conflict resolution, and impactful communication. We also seek to strengthen relationships with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), local civic organizations, and community members. As part of ROC, we conduct thorough assessments of our properties and infrastructure, identifying areas where safety updates can further enhance the well-being of our residents.  

Despite the increase in point-in-time data in DC, SOME will continue to provide affordable housing and supportive services to help empower our neighbors in DC. SOME has not closed its doors in 50 years and will not close them to people who need critical services any time soon.