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Let’s Celebrate the Right to Dream

This month is a special milestone for DASH, and we want to share it with you!

One year ago, in August 2020, we launched our Right to Dream safe housing program.

True to our mission, we innovated this program to address the service gaps in our city.

Our program advocates reported a substantive need for housing and supportive services that focus on transitioning youth (ages 18-24) escaping domestic and sexual violence. 

Right to Dream is now the first program of its kind in DC to connect transitioning youth survivors who are detached from their families, homeless or unstably housed, such as couch surfing or on the street, with longer-term safe housing and wraparound supports. 

Will you join us to celebrate by making a gift in honor of Right to Dream? 

Follow along on our social media to hear more stories about the impact of this program for youth survivors.


It’s time to go BACK TO SCHOOL!

Did you know that in 2020 DASH helped safely house 623 children of domestic violence survivors? 

When individuals come to us seeking shelter from violence, often they are not alone. They come with their children, hoping to find a safe space to rebuild their lives and help their young ones secure a brighter future free of abuse. 

At DASH we need to make sure that these kids have everything they need to not just survive, but also thrive. And you can help! Join us to collect the supplies kids need for a successful return to school this fall. 

We have created a Target Registry School List with all the necessary supplies for a fun and successful start to the academic school year.

Pick out what you can afford to give and have the items shipped directly to DASH, so we can distribute them to the kids in our care before they head back to school. 

Sometimes something as simple as a new backpack, a fresh box of crayons, or a crisp, clean notebook can mean the world to a kid on their first day of school. 

Thanks for supporting survivors and their children! 


The Power of Friends

Recent Georgetown Law grad Olivia Hinerfeld harnessed the power of friends and raised almost $1,000 for DASH’s Survivor Resilience Fund.

Olivia Hinerfeld first heard of DASH when she was volunteering with the Georgetown Legal Clinic representing domestic violence survivors as a student attorney and earning credit towards her law degree. She was researching for a paper when she learned about DASH’s Survivor Resilience Fund (SRF) – an emergency financial assistance fund designed to help survivors address needs that might threaten their permanent housing, achieve safety, and gain the support they need to move forward with their lives.

“(The SRF) is fantastic and sorely needed. I’ve seen for myself that this is a gap. There are a lot of gaps, but this is such a short-term, immediate need.”

Olivia Hinerfeld

Olivia found the SRF and the autonomy it provided for survivors so compelling that she donated $100 of it to the fund when she received her second stimulus check last January. But that wasn’t enough.

She decided to organize a friend-raiser – a fundraiser where she would reach out to her contacts, share her appreciation for DASH’s work, and ask them for their support.

She started by asking 10 friends to donate $10 each to match the $100 she was bringing to the table. Over time, more and more friends decided to take part.

“People like to support their friends and get social media shoutouts. People were very eager to contribute. They wanted to make a difference and pay it forward,” says Olivia.

In the end, Olivia had nearly 50 people participate in her friend-raiser and raised just under $1,000 for DASH’s Survivor Resilience Fund. At a time when many emergency shelters are at capacity, she was excited to support a fund that might allow a survivor in need to remain in their community instead of being displaced.

Olivia says, “I’m just so grateful for everything that DASH does. I’m happy to have had the chance to help in a limited way.”

DASH is thankful to Olivia (or should we say Olivia Hinerfeld, Esq!) for her fundraising efforts and her dedication to survivors of domestic violence (she hopes to go into domestic violence legal work in the future). We congratulate her on her recent graduation from Georgetown Law School and wish her all the best in her new legal career.

Are you interested in starting your own Friend-raiser? Contact Jessy Murgel at jmurgel@dashdc.org for tips and support!


DASH Named LGW Community Partner of the Year

We are so proud to announce that Leadership Greater Washington has named DASH the LGW Community Partner of the Year Award presented by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.  

The LGW Community Partner of the Year Award presented by the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation recognizes outstanding leadership by an LGW member in our region’s non-profit sector.  

The award honors non-profit organizations for creating an exceptional positive impact in the communities they serve. This year, we are proud to honor Koube Ngaaje (’20) and the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) for their extraordinary response in safeguarding survivors of domestic violence and their children, especially with the extra challenges the pandemic imposed.

DASH is truly honored to be recognized by the LGW and Cafritz community, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Domestic violence increases and the need for DASH’s services continue to be called upon more than ever.  

We are proud to say that DASH has emerged stronger thanks to the incredible outpouring of support from our community at large. 


DASH’s Newest Initiative: Safe Nights Fund

We are excited to share some news! DASH is launching a new initiative called the Safe Nights Fund.  

Why did we launch this new initiative? 

Emergency shelters are chronically full due to COVID-19, forcing families to choose between homelessness or staying in a violent home.  

DASH has been receiving calls from organizations asking for our help to keep families safe while they await placement in more permanent housing. We are addressing this crisis by launching a Safe Nights Fund to safely house families with a hotel stay and support services.  

DASH’s flexible funding program, the Survivor Resilience Fund, allows us to quickly offer support – such as the Safe Nights support – for whatever survivors need to prevent homelessness and keep them safe. This innovative homeless prevention resource can swiftly prevent survivors from falling through the cracks at the cost of their lives. In addition, sources of hotel vouchers can take days to access; such delays are retraumatizing for survivors in danger. 

What is the Safe Nights Fund? 

The Safe Nights Fund will offer the housing, transportation, and wraparound services these at-risk survivors and families deserve for their safety and peace of mind. The hotel stay is lifesaving while survivors and their families work with our Advocates to develop a service plan and connect to housing through programs such as the Rapid Rehousing Program

  • Survivors are immediately connected to an emergency hotel stay 
  • DASH Advocates work to connect families to more stable housing. 
  • On average, this process takes 5 days — not a long time but an eternity when you don’t have a safe place to call home.  

What can the Safe Nights Fund do for survivors and families in our community? 

Having a stable place to live and daily living essentials is life-changing for survivors, many of whom have been in crisis for a long period of time, in some cases living out of a car with their children.  

We are asking for your help to get it up and running as quickly as possible. Together, we can help survivors of domestic and sexual violence find safety, without hesitation, in their moment of need. 

Learn more


Pride Month: Recognizing the challenges LGBTQ+ survivors face

DASH stands with ALL survivors of domestic violence, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, because EVERYONE deserves a safe place to call home. 

While we know that domestic and sexual violence can occur in any relationship, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or other intersectional identities, we also know that LGBTQ individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence and face unique barriers to safety. 

For example, 43.8% of lesbian women and 61.1% of bisexual women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime, as opposed to 35% of heterosexual women. Transgender women are three times more likely than others to experience stalking, financial abuse, and sexual harassment.  

In addition to experiencing a higher risk of domestic abuse, LGBTQ survivors face unique barriers to safety. There is a distinct lack or resources designed specifically for survivors of this community. LGBTQ individuals may also be more hesitant to involve law enforcement. In a study of male same sex relationships, only 26% of men called the police for assistance after experiencing near-lethal violence. 

At DASH we believe that survivors should not have to consider the impacts of homophobia and transphobia when seeking safety from domestic violence. We provide safe housing and support for ALL survivors. 

To all LGBTQ survivors – we see you, we believe you, and we join you in celebrating Pride Month.  


Survivors are the Experts in their own Situations: DC Wise & DASH

DASH is thrilled to announce its most recent partnership with DC Wise (Women in Solidarity for Empowerment). 

Who is DC Wise?  

DC Wise is an organization committed to investing in, and enhancing organizations, that positively impact the lives of women and children in the DMV region. Specifically, they provide general operating funds to organizations like DASH who provide essential services and opportunities to women and children in the DC area who are homeless, low-income, or otherwise at-risk.  

Why was DASH selected? 

DC WISE has chosen to provide three years of general operating support to DASH because of our innovation in providing access to safe housing and critical services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. 

“DC Wise is proud to support an organization whose core belief is that survivors are the experts in their situations.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deeply insidious inequities in our community. DASH has been called upon more than ever during the pandemic as emergency shelters reach capacity and cannot accommodate stays past 30 days. DASH’s Cornerstone program has been a lifeline for survivors for immediate access to safety as well as longer-term housing to recover and rebuild.  

“The deep impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold across the DC region but the survivors in our programs will have a safe haven at DASH thanks to general operating support from DC Wise.” 

Koube Ngaaje, DASH Executive Director

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Why this month can be harder for survivors

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this year the theme is all about building safe online spaces.

While the intention of this month is to spread awareness, raise visibility, and provide resources — sometimes this month long campaign meant to center survivors can in fact be painful for survivors. Without social media or other online spaces to “escape” the reminders of sexual assault, this can be an even more challenging time for survivors.

With that in mind, DASH wanted to share a few tips on how to support survivors during #SAAM (and beyond).

  • Recognize how the pandemic has impacted survivors: for those in immediate crisis, many organizations are stretched beyond capacity and limited resources are available. In addition, the sense of isolation that has been perpetuated by the pandemic can be even more challenging for someone dealing with trauma.
  • Hold space: take the time to have a conversation with someone who may be recovering and healing from an assault, but also ensure that you’re respecting their boundaries if they’re not ready to talk.
  • Offer respite: sometimes talking about it is too much for a survivor and what they need is a break — a break from social media, from work, or from thinking about their experience. If it seems like they’re not wanting to talk, offer to do an activity with them that they enjoy (safely) be it a socially distanced walk, workout, or other activity.
  • Honor the healing: it is important to acknowledge the pain and reality of assault, but it is equally important to recognize the hope in the healing. Talk with the survivor about the future and what they would like that to look like so that you can work together to achieve it.

This post is an adaptation of this article. Please read further if you are interested in learning more about how to support loved ones who have experienced sexual assault.

If you’d like to get involved in the #SAAM campaign or are looking for additional resources, please visit nsvrc.org/saam.


A New Partnership: Transportation Access

DASH is thrilled to announce its newest partnership with Uber who is donating 1,000 free rides to help transport survivors of domestic and sexual violence in DASH’s care to and from vaccination sites to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

We are so thankful to Uber for their commitment to “eliminating transportation barriers for vulnerable populations to receive their COVID-19 shots,” said Michele Blackwell, Uber’s Public Affairs Manager.

This past year has highlighted the increased hardships that survivors and their children face in navigating resources to heal and rebuild their lives and we value this move toward mitigating yet another barrier for safety.

DASH’s doors have remained open to welcome survivors and children in need of a safe home during the pandemic. Our services have been called upon more than ever due to increases in domestic and sexual violence cases in our community. We are grateful for the partnership with Uber to ensure that survivors in our programs have safe and reliable transportation to access the vaccine.

Koube Ngaaje, DASH Executive Director

Learn more about the ways that Uber has helped Move What Matters in the DMV since the outset of the pandemic.


Women’s History Month Celebrations

We work for the day when survivors are respected and can live with independence, are provided the resources for their journey out of abuse, and are given understanding and support instead of blame and judgment.

Our commitment to centering survivors still stands, despite the challenges thrown our way over the last year, and we continue to eliminate barriers for survivors of color.

As a testament to this commitment, DASH received a $20,000 Safety and Violence Prevention grant from the Washington Area Women’s Foundation! 

DASH was one of 15 grantees to receive this new grant award. With this flexible support, we can ensure that women and girls of color have a path to safety and independence. We are honored to receive this grant along with many of our incredible peer partners.  

 Together, we can ensure safe housing is a basic right shared by all.


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District Alliance for Safe Housing | PO Box 91730 Washington, DC 20090
202-462-3274 | info@dashdc.org | 501(c)(3) | #71-1019574