Visit to the White House for a Groundbreaking Announcement

Last week, DASH was invited to visit the White House for the launch of the first-ever National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence: Strategies for Action.

The plan aims to prevent and address gender-based violence, including sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking, through a comprehensive approach. The event featured two roundtable discussions with leaders from federal agencies, advocates, survivors, and service organizations.

This was a tremendous honor and an exceptional opportunity for DASH to showcase our work on a regional and national platform and forge new partnerships to advance our mission.

“This initiative builds on the lessons learned and progress made as the result of tireless and courageous leadership by GBV survivors, advocates, researchers, and policymakers, as well as other dedicated professionals and community members who lead prevention and response efforts.”  

Thank you for continuing to support our work to advance providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. 

Rebuilding Your Life During Motherhood

As Mother’s Day approaches, we want to take a moment to celebrate the strength and resilience of mothers who have overcome the challenges of motherhood and the struggles of domestic violence. At DASH, we support survivors like Natalie*, a mother who fled her abusive situation and was able to rebuild her life while caring for her child.

Natalie* is a mother of one who was able to flee her abusive situation when her child was still an infant. She was moving from shelter to shelter before she came to DASH. She was placed in the residential Cornerstone program to receive wraparound services. Natalie knew she needed to provide stability for her child if she wanted her family to thrive. Through her creativity, persistence, and support from her coach, she was able to build a steady stream of income and provide for her family.  

Natalie’s coach was intentional about reminding her that she matters. Although it was necessary for her to provide stability for her child, she also needed stability for herself to heal from the abuse. Natalie was also able to lean on other mothers in the program for support. She befriended another survivor to share childcare responsibilities when one of them needed to go out. The community at Cornerstone gave Natalie the environment to thrive.

Her consistency and growth during her first year at Cornerstone led Natalie to be moved to the more autonomous Empowerment Project to complete her second year at DASH. She has moved into her own unit and now lives in the community with a DASH guaranteed lease. She is continuing to grow her business with the support of her coach.

On average, the survivors who come to DASH are 26-year-old mothers with two young children

Motherhood is difficult already before the trauma of domestic violence and the challenges of leaving an abusive situation. During this Mother’s Day, let’s remember the strength of survivors who are rebuilding their lives while caring for their children.

From Surviving to Thriving: A Story of a Sexual Abuse Survivor 

In the US, 1 out of every 6 women and 1 out of 33 men would have experienced sexual assault at least once in their lifetime. Sexual violence is unfortunately pervasive in our society and domestic violence survivors are no exception.

For Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), DASH would like to highlight the story of Victoria*.  

Victoria came to the U.S. with her longtime partner and two young children. Once they came to the U.S., her partner started becoming emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. She fled her home with her two young children and began couch surfing with the friends and family she had in the U.S.

Victoria was able to connect with DASH and transitioned to her own apartment in the Empowerment Project.  

With safe housing secured for her and her family, she quickly obtained a job with the support of her DASH Coach. Her work ethic and persistence enabled her to become more successful in the program. However, it was difficult for Victoria to switch from “surviving mode” to “thriving mode.” Her coach reminded her that it is okay to feel and experience these emotions and to not always have it all together. Addressing the emotions surrounding the abuse on her own terms is the first step towards healing from the trauma of the assault. 

Victoria has been catapulted into a new career in the travel industry. She is excited and nervous to leave DASH. Victoria’s story of overcoming sexual abuse and rebuilding her life is a testament to her strength and resilience. She can now successfully provide for her family in a safe home. 

DASH recognizes how hard it is to leave a sexually abusive relationship, especially if you have children. One of our coaches, Bruce, gives the following advice for survivors of sexual assault: “You didn’t make a bad choice in choosing yourself. Continue to choose you.” 

To learn more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month, you can visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center or RAINN. These websites offer data on sexual violence, national and local resources for survivors, and ways to get involved in activism.  

*Name changed to protect privacy

National Stalking Awareness Month Through One Survivor’s Eyes

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Stalking impacts 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the United States, and with January being National Stalking Awareness Month, DASH would like to raise awareness of this epidemic by highlighting the story of one of our stalking survivors, “Barbara.” 

Barbara is a single mother to one child who was involved in a domestic violence situation for several years with her child’s father. The last incident of physical violence occurred just a few days prior to Barbara getting in contact with DASH. She reached out to the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center and was placed in a safe house, eventually being housed through the Rapid Re-Housing Application, but her abuser managed to find her.  

Barbara requested a unit transfer through her Rapid Re-Housing case worker, and it was granted, however she could not move into the new unit for 2 weeks. She was fearful of remaining in the home because her abuser might come back. Thankfully, DASH was able to utilize our Safe Nights Fund Program to keep Barbara and her child safe until she could relocate. She was placed that day and has since moved into her new unit.  

Every year, 1 in 7 stalking survivors are forced to relocate because of harassment and in fear for their safety. Through its programs, DASH works around the clock to connect survivors to safety away from domestic violence.  

To learn more, visit the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) which offers a variety of information related to stalking, including information on stalking, safety planning, and other resources. offers a Toolkit for Survivors from the National Network to End Domestic Violence which contains safety tips, information, and privacy strategies for survivors when using technology. 

Or you can contact DASH by calling our intake line at: 202-290-2356. 

Donovan Trott

Manager, Development & Communications

A Look at Intimate Partner Violence in the Trans Community

November is home to Trans Day of Remembrance, a day we use to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. While instances of trans mortality are higher across the board than their cisgendered counterparts, mostly due to lack of access to healthcare resources, trans individuals are also more than one and a half times more likely to be a survivor of any intimate partner violence, and two and a half times more likely to experience sexual intimate partner violence when compared to their cisgendered counterparts. These higher rates exist regardless of sex assigned at birth, with assigned-female-sex-at-birth transgender individuals having rates comparable to their assigned-male-sex-at-birth counterparts. 

It’s important to understand that sexual violence is not about sex, like most other forms of abuse, it’s about power and privilege. And there are few communities with less power or societal privilege than the trans community. This position puts our trans family at a uniquely high risk of being survivors of DV, IPV and SA. It is also most likely that a lack of legal protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and social services is what’s fostering this high risk. And the need for evidence-based interventions to prevent and address DV, SA and IPV in this incredibly vulnerable population couldn’t be more apparent.

DASH, as the largest provider of safe housing for survivors in the nation’s capital, is proud to offer our suite of services to all who need them. We also recognize the unique needs of the trans community when providing these services, and our programs are designed to keep in mind the specific needs of all survivors, but it doesn’t stop there.

DASH recognizes that transgender individuals should be explicitly included in the US Preventative Services Task Force’s recommendations promoting IPV screening in primary care settings. Interventions at the policy level as well as the interpersonal and individual level are urgently needed to address these epidemic levels of DV and SA in the trans community.

In addition to serving the trans population, DASH will continue to advocate and raise awareness for our trans family, a community which continues to demonstrate strength and bravery like none other.  

For more information on how you can help the trans community, click here and here. And check out our previous post on DV in the LGBTQ+ community here.

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

What Our DV Professionals Want You to Know About Domestic Violence 

This month in Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in the spirit of raising awareness, we asked two of DASH’s direct service professionals what they wished the public knew about domestic violence.  

Tyissha Walters, Lead, Wellbeing & Spirituality Coordinator   

“What I wish people knew about Domestic violence is that healing is not linear. It truly takes a village coupled with many resources to begin the healing journey. It takes time, mistakes, and repetition. So, when survivors are finally out of a crisis that’s when the journey begins but that’s not when it ends. Healing is not a task one can simply check off, it’s a practice, A dedication that slowly is implemented into their daily lives, even in the “smallest” ways. Whether that’s getting out of bed, applying for jobs, using multiple resources to obtain assistance on a need such as Housing, Food, Security. It all leads up to the bigger milestone of healing. And even then … The journey is never truly over. It’s not a one stop shop with rainbow at the end.  Survivors of complex trauma such a Domestic Violence has a lifetime of healing and recovery to endure it takes a community to build one person. And It’s taking the one survivor to make a daily and active choice. Domestic Violence has no race, gender, religion, profession, economic status. It is does not discriminate. Therefore, because this crime is faceless, and it is not specific to any group.  We all play a role in ending domestic violence and refusing to collectively see the signs and end the cycle is a crime against humanity.”

Jennifer Robles, Community Coach & Systems Navigator  

“I wish people knew that domestic violence could happen to anyone at any time and it’s not something that can be easily identified. Picking up on warning signs and offering support to survivors is crucial. It is also important to have conversations and bring awareness to this issue. I wish people knew that domestic violence can negatively impact all aspects of an individual’s life and every survivor’s experience is different. ”

You can join both Tyissha and Jennifer on October 28th for an honest discussion about how those not familiar with domestic and sexual violence can challenge themselves, and those around them, to create a society that does not propagate domestic violence or retraumatize survivors. 

Registration is free and open now:

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) to be Honored at 2022 Purple Ribbon Awards has announced the winners of the 2022 Purple Ribbon Awards across 28 categories, as judged by a national panel of respected professionals from the domestic violence field. 

DASH has been awarded FOUR honors!

The Purple Ribbon Awards is dedicated to ensuring all heroic efforts to help victims of domestic violence receive acknowledgment and applause.  

Program/Shelter of the Year  


When DASH was founded in 2006, there were fewer than 50 beds for survivors in DC, just three years after opening, DASH tripled this number. Cornerstone provides low-barrier housing and services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families from underserved communities, allowing them to rebuild their lives on their own terms. 

Employee of the Year 

Kandice Louis, Senior Director, Programs and Yeabsira Mehari, Senior Director, DISC   

Kandice & Yeabsira have worked in tandem to shepherd a passionate, reliable program for #DV survivors. They are two outstanding visionary leaders who have moved DASH to the next level, and together, they are transforming systems for survivors and creating a greater collective of care.   

Outstanding Youth Initiative of the Year  

Right to Dream  

DASH launched its Right to Dream scattered site housing program to support transitioning aged-youth (18-24) who are survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Right to Dream is the first program of its kind in the District of Columbia and surrounding areas, expanding the availability of youth-friendly, survivor-focused, long-term transitional housing and support services.  

Outstanding Advocate Training Program  

DASH Academy 

DASH provides housing and services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families. Providing top-quality trauma-informed services requires ongoing training and exposure to cutting-edge techniques. The DASH Academy is our capacity-building program for Coaches—front-line staff. For the last year, it has offered trainings twice a month with top-tier presenters who deliver cutting-edge content. The Academy is raising the bar for staff development in the domestic violence field.  


This is an incredible honor, and we are humbled but not surprised, because we all know the caliber of DASH’s programs and the inspiring nature of its staff. Together, the awards we have received speak volumes of the leadership that exists not in one program or department, but in every single person at DASH. – Pierre Berastaín, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer, DASH

 A virtual celebration will be hosted by on September 21, 2022 to honor this year’s Purple Ribbon awardees and $30,000 worth of grants will be awarded to stand-out recipients. The celebration will follow the Purple Ribbon Awards Inspire Webinar, a free-to-attend virtual conference where winners will tell their success stories, share advice for other domestic violence professionals and celebrate the work being done to help victims and survivors of abuse.  

 Registration to attend the Inspire Webinar and/or Purple Ribbon Awards Celebration is now open at  

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

Celebrating 2 Years of Right to Dream Through The Eyes of Survivors

Celebrating 2 Years of Right to Dream Through the Eyes of Survivors 

On the 2nd Anniversary of DASH’s innovative Right to Dream program, the first two-year safe housing program for transitioning youth survivors (ages 18-24) in DC, we would like to share just some of the stories our survivors have shared with us. What they’ve overcome, how the program has helped them, and where they are today. 


“Erica” entered the Right to Dream Program in October 2020. She is very proactive in her housing process, finding employment training and employment opportunities. She has completed a recent training program and is gainfully employed and states she is super excited for the opportunity. She’s grateful to DASH, and DHS, for helping her regain her independence. 


“Letitia” was one of the first Right to Dream participants. Prior to entering the program, she was homeless and found herself couch surfing, staying with friends/family, and when she could afford it, hotel stays, where she often faced unsafe situations.  

Despite her housing circumstances, her resilience allowed her to continue working her full-time job. She signed her first lease within a month of entering the program and had a smooth transition into her new home. For “Letitia”, having her own safe space, means she can focus on her overall well-being and no longer deal with toxic individuals from her past.  

Letitia will continue working on her goals and prioritizing her mental health and she hopes that her remaining time in the program will help her heal from the trauma she has endured.  


“Alexis” was the very first participant to enter the RTD program in October 2020. Prior to entering the program she was couch-surfing staying with friends and family. She moved into her new home and immediately established goals she wanted to accomplish. While she did face setbacks due to the pandemic because employers were taking longer to hire, despite her many attempts and rejections, she persisted. Now she is working towards her goals of starting a savings account and enrolling in a nursing program. 

To learn more about our Right to Program, send an email to  

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

Resources for Minority Mental Health Awareness

Addressing the Lack of Black Mental Health Professionals | INSIGHT Into  Diversity

Do racial minorities in the United States suffer from more mental illness than white Americans? There isn’t enough available research to give this question an informed answer (though some of what we do have suggests the answer is no). But what has been thoroughly researched and proven is that racial minorities receive much less support when they do suffer from mental health issues, as the majority of Americans will at some point in their lives. These disparities in treatment only grow when further minority identities are acknowledged.  

There can be cultural reasons for such disparities. While a general feeling of mistrust towards the medical community has historic origins rooted in the abuse of minorities, specifically Black and Native Americans, recent studies have observed that even when Black Americans are just as likely to believe mental health professionals can help with major mental health crisis like schizophrenia and depression, there is a tendency to believe these issues can also self-resolve. These beliefs may stem from cultural practices, religious dogma, or even online disinformation.

But regardless of the reason why some minorities will occasionally limit their exposure to the medical community, when they do reach out for mental health help, the largest barrier to getting it is a systemic lack of resources.

To help you navigate the often frustrating landscape of resources available, below you can find a list of resources for BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and all those who intersect between the two.

BIPOC Mental Health Provider Directories

Virtual Resources for BIPOC communities


  • The Safe Place: Free smartphone app focused on psychoeducation and self-care for minority mental health, geared towards the Black community
  • Liberate: Smartphone app for daily meditation designed for the BIPOC community and led by BIPOC teachers (free trial followed by monthly or annual subscription)

Resource Libraries

Resource Lists

Further Reads

Resources for Specific Groups


  • The Steve Fund: Library of resources to support mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color
  • Young People of Color Support Guide: Online guide to mental health concerns that young people of color may face during transitions from home to college, and from college to early adulthood
  • We R Native: Library of resources for Native and indigenous youth with practical strategies for building resilience, coping with diverse mental health challenges, and seeking help and support


  • QTPoC Mental Health Practitioner Directory: Virtual directory of mental health practitioners across the country for queer and trans people of color, provided by the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
    • Curated resources such as hotlines, online support groups, and organizations for queer and trans people of color also available
  • Resources for Members of the LGBTQ+ Community: Virtual directory of psychiatrists, therapists, text and chat services, and online communities specifically geared towards the LGBTQ+ community, provided by NAMI Massachusetts
  • Asylum Connect Catalog: Free virtual platform that matches LGBTQ+ asylum seekers with vetted legal, medical, mental health and social services

Give Us The Floor: Nation-wide support groups for LGBTQ+ youth to build healthy connections, practice self-expression, and enhance psychological wellness

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

The Silent Epidemic of Intimate Partner Violence in the Queer Community 

Almost Half of Gay Men Experience Intimate Partner Violence

During the month of June, you’re a bit more likely to see and hear, the voices of the Queer community proclaiming pride and resilience in the wake of ongoing attempts to undercut their basic human rights. But what is often unseen, both within the LGBTQ+ community and outside of it, is an epidemic of domestic violence in intimate partner relationships.  

Recent studies have found that those who identify as either lesbian or gay reported domestic violence and sexual violence rates which were equal to or higher than those who identify as heterosexual. Not to mention, trans people are victimized over four times more often than cisgender people, up to half of that being violence from a current or former intimate partner. The intersection of race only exacerbates the problem, as in just one study, over 60 percent of LGBTQ victims of IPV-related homicides were people of color.  

And for Queer survivors of intimate partner violence, barriers to help, such as shelters and mental health services, are often insurmountable. That is why innovative, low barrier to entry programs, like DASH, are so crucial.  

“Being homeless for 4 months last year, was nothing new for me, as a Trans Brown Immigrant woman, I have faced homelessness in the past.” Says *Martina, a former DASH resident. “Being able to access the DASH program helped me to continue working and helping my own community. “  

Everyone deserves and is worth a life free from fear – no matter who they are or who they love. This simple statement rests at the heart of our mission here at DASH, and we will continue to guide us as we support the LGBTQIA+ community.  

*Name changed to protect the identity of the survivor.  

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications