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DASH Benefit Compilation CD Release Show at Black Cat

Southern Problems

DASH celebrated the release of a compilation CD with 16 tracks to benefit the organization this past week at The Black Cat, our hometown rock club. The CD came out on Exotic Fever Records, and copies are available both on the label’s site here and through Itunes by searching its title – “And Tonight the City Safely Sleeps.” Proceeds go directly to support DASH’s work.

Cat Furniture

Cat Furniture started off the show with homemade signs to spell out D-A-S-H on their shirts. They kicked off the set with their song from the comp, Beepy. After their set, Hugh McElroy, formerly of the prominent DC band Black Eyes, treated the audience to a compelling a capella set. Capping off the night was Southern Problems.

One of the best parts of the event was seeing the musicians

Hugh McElroy

meet DASH staff, for whom they already had a lot of respect. The event did well with over 60 people attending. Thanks so much to the bands who played and to Black Cat for hosting! If you have not gotten a chance yet, pick the comp up now and check out this review of it here on the Washington City Paper’s blog – including a preview track!

Catfish for DASH! #justinsfishfry

We had an amazing time at Justin’s Fish Fry this past Saturday in support of DASH!

Thank you so much, Justin Schuck, for pulling together such an enjoyable and generous event to benefit the women and children in our programs.

Thanks go to Justin’s dedicated crew of friends and helpers as well! The day would not have been possible without Michele WalkBrandon ReavisTimothy Charles BriscoeViolaine OrbanStephen Joseph (from Goûter) and Matthew Rhoades & Luis Gomez from Borderstan.

Justin and team served a delicious full course meal to over 120 people! The catfish, hush puppies, greens, and fried desserts received rave reviews all around. Most importantly, they raised critical funds and donations for our residents at DASH.

What a fun party and perfect way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon!   We could not be more grateful to have community partners like Justin!

Cornerstone Dinner with RUBIES Women’s Ministry

Last Saturday, Cornerstone residents were treated to a night of food and entertainment by Shekinah Glory Deliverance Church RUBIES Women’s Ministry. RUBIES members arrived at Cornerstone with trays of delicious ribs, chicken, potato salad, and green beans donated by Dale’s Smokehouse in Indian Head, MD. They also brought gifts, toiletry items, and other much-needed items for DASH participants. Before the dinner began, the women and children participated in a game and listed to a beautiful song performed by a RUBIES member. The volunteers expressed their solidarity with Cornerstone residents and reminded them of how special and brave they were to leave an abusive relationship. All participants left the event full of fantastic food and grateful for a wonderful evening. DASH is so thankful to Shekinah Glory Deliverance Church for reaching out to us and providing residents with such a memorable night!

New ‘Bright Space’ Provides Children Displaced by Domestic Violence A Unique Learning and Play Environment to Help Them Thrive

Grand Opening of Bright Space at DASH

Today the District Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH), Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, P.A., and the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children officially opened our Bright Space® learning and play facility for children living in the emergency-to-transitional housing of DASH’s Cornerstone Residence. The children living in this special residence have been displaced by domestic or sexual violence, along with their mothers, and the Bright Space will provide a dedicated safe, warm, enriching area to play, learn, and thrive.

Studies have shown that children of all ages flourish when they have a safe place in which to explore the world around them, filled with books, toys and activities. Children experiencing stress associated with witnessing violence and experiencing homelessness especially need access to these kinds of child-friendly spaces that are key to social and emotional development.

“We hope this Bright Space will bring comfort to families and children during an especially difficult time” said Bright Horizons Center Director Rebecca Weiss who led the team of child care employees in charge of creating the Bright Spaces room within the shelter.

This Bright Space will provide a place for children to play. Children like five-year-old Mary who came to Cornerstone with her mother, who was battling drug addiction, had been incarcerated, and experienced violence at the hands of a former partner. Mary’s mom credits her daughter as her inspiration to heal and get back on her feet, often referring to her as a “gift from God,” and a second chance to live her life in a positive way.

Bright Space Learning and Play Facility at Cornerstone Residence (DASH)

“This Bright Space will offer many of the families who enter our program every year a comfortable place to play and simply experience the joy of being a child or parent,” said DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo.

The center’s construction and opening was largely made possible by a donation from the law firm of Shulman Rogers located in Potomac, Md. The firm is celebrating its 40th anniversary through A Special Year of Giving in which they have dedicated themselves to civic engagement and giving back to the community that contributed to their success. The donation to Bright Spaces is just one in a series of 12 volunteer projects the firm will lead during their anniversary year.

“For 40 years, we have dedicated ourselves to not only serving our clients, but to also serving the community we call home,” said Lawrence A. Shulman, founding partner of Shulman Rogers.  “As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we continue our dedication of service, philanthropy, and support.”

DASH Executive Director Peg Hacskaylo and Board Chair Julia Wright

The Bright Space was also made possible through the generous donations of Bright Horizons Division 2, Hoppmann Audio Visual, Capital Commercial Flooring, James G. Davis Construction, Diamond Contracting, Inter-American Development Bank, and DASH Board Chair Julia Wright.


About DASH

DASH is an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms. We seek to strengthen and expand the local safety net for survivors by providing high quality, voluntary services that are responsive to their individual needs and by engaging lawmakers, community members, service providers, and survivors in the movement to make safe housing more accessible in the short-term and less necessary in the long-term.

DASH’S Cornerstone Program is our emergency-to-transitional housing program, and the District’s largest dedicated safe housing program. It provides 43 units of safe housing where residents may live for up to 2 years.  In the year and half since opening, DASH has housed more than 150 women and children at Cornerstone. More information is available at https://dashdc.wpengine.com/

About Bright Horizons Family Solutions

Bright Horizons Family Solutions is the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education and work/life solutions. The company operates child care and early education centers across the United States, Europe and Canada. The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children was founded in 1999 to help forward the vision of Bright Horizons Family Solutions to brighten the lives of children, youth, and families in crisis. Bright Spaces is a program of the Foundation, creating dedicated play areas in shelters and community agencies that serve children in crisis. There are currently more than 260 Bright Spaces open in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, and Ireland that serve more than 10,000 children and families every month. More information is at www.brighthorizonsfoundation.org.

About Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker

Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker, PA is the largest independent law firm in the Washington Metropolitan suburbs. Founded in 1972, the firm and its attorneys and staff are committed to client service, a relentless focus on problem solving and an underlying compassion for its clients and community. The firm has a general practice with experience ranging from corporate law, to real estate, to litigation to estate planning and family law. Additional information on Shulman, Rogers, Gandal, Pordy & Ecker and its practice areas is available at www.shulmanrogers.com.

Knitting and Community Building

Donations from Looped Yarn Works

Alison Gurley, Resident Advocate at DASH, recently lead a knitting program with DASH residents. The pictures are just a portion of the yarn that was donated by DC business Looped Yarn Works. We are incredibly grateful for their generosity! Here Alison talks about how she came to DASH and the project:

I am originally from Massachusetts, but I went to a small college out in Minnesota called St. Olaf College. I graduated in 2010 and decided that I needed to be somewhere warmer so I moved to DC. I am a resident advocate. A resident advocate at DASH does pretty much what the title suggests, we advocate for our residents and partner with them throughout their stay at our transitional housing program. During their two years here, advocates work to support residents are they work toward their goals, seek permanent housing, connect to community resources and etc. Advocates are available to share their knowledge of community organizations and resources, government programs and benefits and to generally provide  a listening ear. We also plan much of the programming that occurs within our Cornerstone housing facility.

I first got involved with DASH as a full-time volunteer through Lutheran Volunteer Corps (kind of like AmeriCorps) in March 2011. I had been working at an organization doing advocacy work on federal immigration and refugee legislation, and I wanted a chance to do direct service work. DASH had an opening for a Resident Advocate so I applied to work here through Lutheran Volunteer Corps. DASH hired me as a full-time advocate outside of Lutheran Volunteer Corps in August 2011.

Resident Advocate Chanel Meadows, knitting with DASH residents

A number of residents had expressed interest in starting a knitting/crocheting group. One resident in particular was interesting in teaching crochet. For me, knitting is an important stress relieving activity, I find it wonderful and satisfying to create a tangible product. I thought it was a wonderful idea for DASH to help the women take some time for themselves and build community together. One of the founders of Looped Yarn Works used to work with a DASH staff member at Our Place, DC, so I got in touch with her to see if we could have supplies donated to make the group possible. Looped does drives quarterly to help make knitting/crochet groups possible for a number of non-profits.

As a resident advocate, my first priority is to build a relationship of mutual respect with the women I work with at DASH. The most important thing to me is that we approach the work we do together as a partnership. I want to make sure that the women have self-determination in the goals that they set for themselves and the life they build for themselves while they are in our Cornerstone program.

Donations from Looped Yarn Works

Knitting is a great way to build community. When your hands are busy, it’s amazing what will come out of your mouth! Building a strong community among the residents in our Cornerstone program is very important to DASH. Survivors are the people best equipped to help other survivors, we always want our residents to be able to turn to one another for support, as well as to staff.

DASH featured in National Newsletter by NHLP

DASH was featured in the National Housing Law Project’s (NHLP) March 2012 newsletter, which highlights a number of DASH’s programs as national best practices for addressing homelessness amongst domestic violence victims.  The NHLP is a nonprofit national housing and legal advocacy center established in 1968 to advance housing justice for poor people.  The newsletter includes a full page on DASH, featuring information on The Cornerstone Project, The Empowerment Project, Project PATH, and the Domestic Violence and Housing Taskforce. DASH is one of a handful of organizations in the country dedicated to increasing housing access for victims  by developing housing programs and advocating for systemic change.

DASH has made great strides in addressing the housing needs of survivors of domestic violence. Since its inception, DASH has helped survivors have over 37,665 “safe nights” and provided safe housing to 218 individuals. In addition, through community outreach efforts, DASH trained more than 1,500 abuse survivors to exercise their housing rights so as to avoid eviction stemming from violence in their homes. DASH also has trained more than 60 housing providers seeking to improve their response to victims in their programs. Despite the economic downturn, DASH continues to work hard to ensure quality housing for survivors and their families. For more information about DASH, please visit www.dashdc.org.

The newsletter also featured information on the report released in February by the National Network on Domestic Violence – a National Census on Domestic Violence Services.  It illustrated that, in total, 1,726 out of 1,944 domestic violence programs in the United States and its territories participated. The census has several findings regarding housing needs of domestic violence survivors. The census found that on September 15, 2011, 67,399 adults and children sought services from domestic violence programs. Of those individuals, more than 36,000 received emergency shelter or transitional housing from a domestic violence program. Of the victims served, 35% were living in emergency shelter and 19% were living in transitional housing. Of the domestic violence programs surveyed, 74% provided emergency shelter, and 35% provided transitional housing. Additionally, 82% of the programs provided advocacy for survivors related to housing or landlords.

DASH is honored to be in partnership with the National Housing Law Project. For information on their domestic violence and housing newsletter, please contact Meliah Schultzman at mschultzman@nhlp.org or 415-546-7000 x. 3116.

March 2012 Newsletter FINAL-1

Spotlight on Allies in Change Awardees: Jamila Larson

On March 28th, DASH will hold its Allies in Change luncheon, honoring individuals who have supported and amplified the organization’s work to provide relief to survivors of domestic and sexual violence,through emergency and long-term safe housing, and innovative homelessness prevention services. We are doing a series of interviews of our awardees beforehand to share a bit more about them. This blog focuses on Jamila Larson, who has brought her work with the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project to DASH’s community. Remember to buy tickets to the luncheon here!

We are pleased to introduce Jamila Larson. Ms. Larson came to D.C. in 1996 from Wisconsin and has been running the Playtime Project as a volunteer since its founding in 2003. She assumed the role as first fulltime Executive Director in September 2009. Her experience as a licensed clinical social worker running a mental health and after school program and as a policy researcher at the Children’s Defense Fund helped inform her leadership of the Playtime Project. “We are fortunate to have the most amazing volunteers and dedicated supporters s who recognize the unlimited potential in the children and families we serve and make a commitment to protecting a child’s right to experience joy.”

Below is the interview we conducted with Ms. Larson. We are grateful to have her as a partner and friend, and are looking forward to honoring her and others March 28th!

Jamila Larson and Lars from Homeless Children's Playtime Project

“My friend from the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless told me about this great group of women starting DASH and recommended we consider bringing our Playtime Project model to their new housing program. I jumped at the chance because we know many of the children we serve in family shelters have experienced domestic violence, but to be able to partner with an agency that specializes in this population is something we’d really like to do.

I grew up in rural Wisconsin but moved to DC in 1996 right out of college to work for the Children’s Defense Fund on national policy issues effecting children and families. Discovering how many local needs there are in this city made me passionate to stay and learn about the needs of children and families locally and serve here.

I think there should be a domestic violence fatality review team, similar to child fatality review teams, that analyzes what was done and what was not done by the authorities and service providers in order to fine tune interventions in high risk cases. More police escorts and relocation assistance is needed especially around the time protection orders are filed to ensure families survive dangerous transition times. Education for teen girls and boys in middle school and high school is also critical to help break the cycle as young people are experiencing their first relationships.

We educate our volunteers about the likelihood that many of the families we serve in non-domestic violence shelters have experienced domestic violence, and we work to create a safe environment for all the children we serve. It’s important to give children an environment that gives them therapeutic tools to work through their feelings and experiences (like doll houses, play doh, puppets and art supplies). We want to equip all of the children we serve with coping skills against violence and to make sure they feel safe to relax and express themselves.

Jamila and her newborn

I am a new parent to a darling 5-month-old boy, and it makes me think a lot about how to raise a wonderful man in this world. I read something recently about how respecting children when they tell us “no” helps teach them to respect others who tell them no. This makes a lot of sense to me, to help relatively powerless children find their voice. Check back with me in a year…I will put this consciousness to the test when he starts talking back!”

Spotlight on Allies in Change Awardees: Andrew Lazerow

On March 28th, DASH will hold its Allies in Change luncheon, honoring individuals who have supported and amplified the organization’s work to provide relief to survivors of domestic and sexual violence,through emergency and long-term safe housing, and innovative homelessness prevention services. We are doing a series of interviews of our awardees beforehand to share a bit more about them. This blog focuses on Andrew Lazerow, who provides DASH with legal support. Remember to buy tickets to the luncheon here!

Andrew Lazerow, Allies in Change Awardee

DASH is happy to introduce Andrew Lazerow. Mr. Lazerow is of counsel in the Covington & Burling LLC’s  Washington, DC office.  He has extensive experience representing clients in numerous industries in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, antitrust class actions, securities fraud class actions, and complex commercial disputes.  He litigates and tries complex matters in federal court.

Below are comments Andrew had about his relationship to DASH and to the District of Columbia:

I grew up just outside the city, in Bethesda, Maryland.  However, I went to law school in DC, and lived in Adams Morgan for a number of years.

I have had the privilege of acting as quasi outside counsel to DASH for a few years now.  I truly enjoy working with DASH’s executive staff to ensure that DASH operates safe facilities.  It is obviously critical that victims of domestic abuse not suffer a second injustice.  DASH offers that refuge, and I hope that my small part furthers DASH’s mission in this regard.

DASH is proud to honor Mr. Lazerow for his ongoing contributions to the organization.

Spotlight on Our Supporters: MOI

DASH is grateful for its network of supporters, and will be featuring interviews with those companies, foundations and businesses. Today, the spotlight is on MOI, a full service furniture dealership, and an interview with Jennifer Ives.

1. How did MOI first find out about DASH and how did you decide to become such a strong corporate partner?

We first learned about DASH from a previous team member, Carolyn Franco. Carolyn and I discussed doing an Art show to raise funds for DASH and to show off our industry artistic talents. MOI has always been involved in the community. This year we are moving to a more structured Corporate Social Responsibility.

2. What has it been like working with DASH so far?

It’s been wonderful. MOI and DASH have built a strong relationship. The passion that the team at DASH have for the mission has driven engagement from MOI’s team – the grass roots enthusiasm has been shown through the gifts and donations we were able to collect during the holidays.

3. Does MOI have a history of other community partnerships?

Yes, through both financial and in-kind donations.  We also have a history of employees donating their time and effort through collective ventures like the Real Estate game for JDRF and Habitat for Humanity.  We frequently team our efforts with manufacturing partners for donations.

4. What were some of the values you wanted to bring from your company in this partnership?

MOI’s core values expressed with our mission statement; Agility, Accountability, Growth, Excellence, and Commitment. We believe DASH supports and drives these for their clients, making it a natural partnership.

5. What would you like DASH residents to experience when they come to stay?

We would like the new DASH residents to feel safety, peace of mind and hope for the future.
6. What would you hope other businesses and corporations would do to invest in safe housing for the District?
MOI hopes for awareness followed by action.
7. What are you looking forward to in your relationship with DASH coming up?

We are looking forward to building awareness and support for the cause of safe housing and safe lives. We are also looking forward to increased exposure for MOI through this partnership.

Thank you so much, MOI! DASH appreciates you!

Freddie Mac Generously Supports DASH’s Empowerment Project!

DASH is honored and grateful to be a grantee of Freddie Mac in the coming program year. Freddie Mac, also known as Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), is a public government sponsored enterprise (GSE), headquartered in Tysons Corner. It was created in 1970 to expand the secondary market for mortgages in the US. This secondary mortgage market increases the supply of money available for mortgage lending and increases the money available for new home purchases.

With its dedication to community programs and affordable housing, Freddie Mac has partnered with DASH in 2012 on a $125,000 grant initiative supporting our scattered-site Empowerment Project. Participants in the project are able to sign an apartment lease that meets their familial, financial and safety needs. DASH provides the rental subsidy along with intensive support services and resources that enable the woman to become economically independent over the course of two years. This level of support allows DASH to increase the project to house an additional 10 families and help women to develop the tools to be fully financially supportive of their families and to develop real skills that ensure their economic independence.

The outcome of this grant will be that the women and their children served will have exited homelessness, secured stable homes, and be prepared to retain permanent housing through rental assistance, supportive services, and intensive education and advocacy around establishing economic self-sufficiency.
DASH partners with Wider Opportunities for Women in this work (link), an organization that helps women learn to earn, with programs emphasizing literacy, technical and nontraditional skills, the welfare-to-work transition, career development, and retirement security. Since 1964, WOW has trained more than 10,000 women for well-paid work in the DC area.

We are honored to have such generous, visionary partners in the important work to help survivors of sexual and domestic violence secure safe, long-term housing and live free from violence. We believe that DASH is a visionary organization that takes a holistic approach to serving survivors. Through research and listening we have developed a number of proven best practices we share with other organizations addressing domestic violence and homelessness. Without our corporate and organizational partners we would not be able to have the lasting impact that we do.

For more information or to pursue corporate sponsorship of the Empowerment Project, contact Peg Hacskaylo at 202/462-3274 x110.

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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