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Summer of Hope

July, a month filled with brightness and hope, brings a story of resilience. Amara* is a survivor who found DASH and was accepted into the Cornerstone program. Here, she was able to rebuild her life and empower herself to achieve her goals.

Amara studied at a nearby university and pursued two internships. One of the them led to an exciting offer for residency in another state, which she accepted immediately.

Earlier this summer, Amara decided to leave Cornerstone seven months ahead of her planned exit date.

However, Amara faced a major obstacle after accepting: She had only a two-week period to relocate. Her DASH coach teamed up with her to find affordable housing options, and DASH helped arrange a moving company to transport her belongings. Amara has now moved into her new safe home and is excited to start her next chapter.

Amara’s journey shows that new opportunities are always possible, even for those who are healing. At DASH, we celebrate her achievements and support her as she takes charge of her future.

Join DASH in spreading hope by following us on social media and sharing our mission.

*Name changed to protect identity of the survivor

DASH Honored in Class of 2023 Nonprofits

As a leading nonprofit in the Greater Washington region, DASH was honored by Spur Local for our mission and services to empower domestic violence survivors. Spur Local recognized DASH in the “Growth Partners Over $4 Million Budgets” category as part of its 2023 class.

The process to be selected in this year’s class included over 150 volunteers from local foundations and nonprofits who reviewed applications, programs, and finances and conducted site visits. Alongside 133 nonprofits, DASH was chosen for being highly trusted as a critical nonprofit in our area.

“Recognizing and amplifying the impact of organizations like the ones in our new class is at the very heart of Spur Local,” said Matt Gayer, Executive Director of Spur Local. “These small nonprofits are creating local and hyperlocal change on a community-level. The significance of that for our region, and as a model for other regions, cannot be overstated.”

Over the next four years, Spur Local will offer free resources to DASH and the 2023 class, including skill building workshops and networking opportunities. DASH will also be featured on Spur Local’s website, social media, blog, and at events.

DASH is truly grateful to Spur Local for this recognition as we strive to make safe housing a human right. With the community’s support, DASH continues to create lasting change and build a safer, more welcoming society.

Learn more about DASH’s programs and services at dashdc.org. See the full list of the 2023 class and learn more about Spur Local at spurlocal.org.

DASH and Spur Local seal

Domestic Violence Does Not See Gender

Domestic Violence does not discriminate in all types of relationships. In fact, LGBTQ+ and heterosexual couples can experience the same rate of domestic violence (VAWnet). Unique challenges some queer survivors face include the threat that no one will believe them because of their identity. During Pride Month, it is important to highlight the resources DASH and other D.C.-based organizations in the area provide for queer survivors. 

DASH is an inclusive space for all survivors. We make it a priority to highlight the availability of our services to members of the LGBTQ+ community. DASH also ensures that families can stay together in the same unit, regardless of the gender identity or sexual orientation of their children. 

Here are other LGBTQ+ organizations in the area that can support you:

The DC Center for the LGBT Community offers social peer groups and community resources in DC.

SMYAL is the largest LGBTQ youth housing provider in the DMV region. In addition to providing housing, their programs support residents with case management, food, and mental health resources.

The Wanda Alston Foundation specifically provides transitional housing to LQBTQ+ youth aged 18 to 24 in all eight wards of DC. 

Remember: You cannot be denied government housing services because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. If you have experienced housing discrimination for these reasons, please contact the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless or the Equal Rights Center. 

It’s also important to note that discrimination based on gender identity or expression is illegal in D.C., which means that any of the housing options available to female survivors are legally available to those who identify as women. 

To learn more about safe housing resources for the LGBTQ+ community, call our intake line at 202-290-2356. There is no need to feel ashamed to ask for help because you are in a queer relationship. 

Everyone deserves to be in healthy, loving relationships.

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. 

Techsafety.org 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: https://bit.ly/3Qpxs0b

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) to be Honored at 2022 Purple Ribbon Awards  

DomesticShelters.org 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 DomesticShelters.org 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 www.purpleribbonawards.org.  

Donovan Trott, Manager, Development & Communications

Spur Local Critical Nonprofit 23
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United Way: #9391 | CFC: #99008
District Alliance for Safe Housing | PO Box 91730 Washington, DC 20090
202-462-3274 | info@dashdc.org | 501(c)(3) | #71-1019574