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Safe Housing Champion: Mary Braxton

Building Brick Award

We are excited to award Mary Braxton, Assistant Community Manager at Edgewood Commons, with the “Building Brick” award. In construction, the “building brick” is that which makes up the substance of the structure. Mary Braxton’s help to ensure that the families at DASH are provided with more than just a safe place to run, but the ability to establish new homes – quickly, easily, and comfortably, the way a home should be – helps changes lives.

How did you first become connected to DASH?20150406_071949

My first connection with DASH was around the beginning of 2014 while working at another Edgewood Managed property. I was online researching housing programs for victims of Domestic Violence to assist a resident that was dealing with a serious domestic issue with her family and I came across a link (http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/dashs-empowerment-project-rapid-re-housing-for-survivors-of-domestic-violen ). I clicked on the link  it was an article about DASH. I then googled DASH to get the contact information. I reached out to DASH to get more information and I started referring residents to them.

What has DASH’s impact been on the survivors of domestic violence you work with?

DASH has had a tremendous impact on the survivors I work with. The financial assistance that DASH has provided to survivors it has enable them to maintain their affordable housing and most are now receiving counseling from other sources.  Unfortunately, due to the type of work I do I’m unable to provide specific stories.

From your perspective as a property manager, what are some of the unique challenges that survivors of domestic violence face when looking for affordable housing?  

The greatest challenge survivors face is having good credit. Many of the survivors I work with depended on their abusers for financial assistance to pay their rent . Once the abuser leaves then the survivor can no longer rely on that source for assistance. Unfortunately, it’s a trickle-down effect and they’re not able to pay the rent on time and as a result I have to sue them. Every time they’re sued it’s reported to the credit bureau and then their credit is negatively impacted. When the survivor goes to look for affordable housing the first thing that is checked is their rental and credit history. Most HUD funded properties will not accept applicants with negative rental history.

Why do you think that safe housing is an important service for survivors of domestic violence in DC?

I think safe housing is an extremely important service for survivors because it allows them time to get themselves together and reflect on their situation. Without  safe housing they will not be able to move forward with their recovery.

6 Reasons to Attend Allies in Change; Part 2

Join us at Allies in Change as we honor the people and organizations that make a difference at DASH. Need a reason to buy a ticket? We’ve got six good ones. See part 1 here.

4. Hear a Survivor’s Story. Our Special Guest Speaker will be a DASH survivor who will share her story and courageous efforts to escape from abuse and rebuild her life.

5. Take snapshots in our photo booth! Thanks to MOI Inc. our photo booth sponsor!

6. Support Safe Housing. At DASH we believe that safe housing should be a right shared by everyone. Help us make that a reality, buy a ticket today.

Join us on April 30th, go to our event page for tickets and information.

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Allies in Change Awards Reception

DASH’s Allies in Change Awards Reception recognizes community partners who have made a difference in the lives of women and children facing homelessness due to domestic violence. As the District Alliance for Safe Housing, DASH relies on our allies in the community to amplify DASH’s mission and work to ensure that every home is a safe home for survivors of abuse.

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

6:00PM to 8:00PM

Center for Strategic and International Studies (1616 Rhode Island Ave, NW, DC)

RSVP here

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities, click here or contact Jasmine at jowens@dashdc.wpengine.com.

Safe Housing Champion: Princess McDuffie

Support Beam Award

We are excited to award Princess McDuffie with the Support Beam award at our 5th annual Allies in Change benefit on April 30th. In construction, the “support beam” is that which steadies and strengthens a structure. Mrs. McDuffie has helped to strengthen and steady the lives of the youngest survivors of abuse – children – with fun, creative expression and have truly made a difference in the lives of those recovering from trauma, and we and the families that we serve are all better for it. 


Interview with Awardee, Princess McDuffie

What brought you to the DASH Art Group? I have worked in the domestic violence field for the past 13 years and I have always had a love for creative arts. I was able to merge my passion of working with survivors of domestic violence and my creativity when I saw an advertisement for help needed in the Art Group at DASH.

Why do you think Art Group is an important program at DASH? Children need to be exposed to the arts. They should be able to be creative and have a place that allows them to be expressive. The trauma of domestic violence on children can have a lasting impact on them and having an Art Group gives children the development, growth, and outlet needed to overcome the obstacles that domestic violence may have placed upon them.

What is your favorite Art Project that you have worked on with the kids? I enjoyed working on the framed art projects that were showcased during the DASH Open House as well as the BalderDASH Reception. These items captured the children’s hard work and efforts and they were bid on and purchased by several donors. Personally, I was able to bid and snag a couple of the art pieces at BalderDASH to showcase in the office and at home. They are great conversation starters for guests and colleagues about the great work at DASH.

Why do you think safe housing is an important service in DC? Safe housing allows survivors of domestic violence to continue with their daily lives, have a place that they can call home, and be able to have support and advocacy in the fight against domestic violence.


DASH is an innovator in providing access to safe housing and services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families as they rebuild their lives on their own terms.

Revolution: DASH is born

Kylie Musolf is a senior at American University studying Philosophy and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has worked at DASH as the development intern since January 2014.

It’s hard to pinpoint the first service project I ever completed. I grew up in rural Michigan with plenty of opportunities to do community service, and I was fortunate to grow up in a community that valued my participation. Doing community service opened my world up to unimaginable possibilities and passions and helped me gain some of the skills and experience I needed to move toward them.  Service certainly helped bring me to DASH: one of the recurring volunteer projects I did in secondary school was at my local domestic violence shelter.

While I can’t remember my first experience with community service, I can certainly remember my most recent. Last Saturday I showed up at DASH (a little late, as the red line was single tracking) with two wonderful young women of Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity. Little did we know that Revolution: DASH was soon to be born. Five young residents showed up on Saturday morning to clean up their community by picking up litter. We suited up with our warm clothes, sanitary gloves, and trash bags and headed out. We picked up several bags worth of litter such as beverage containers, old newspapers, cigarette butts, and candy wrappers from the sidewalks and street gutters. We took breaks between blocks to play tag and talk about school and sports.


The streets were sparkling clean and we were exhausted! The five young residents, two members of Alpha Phi Omega and I, returned to the community room to eat pizza (generously provided by &pizza) and talk about the environment.  We talked about the different kinds of litter we picked up, statistics about trash and litter, and how litter impacts our clean water supply. We also talked about how much water we use daily—I think everyone was surprised to know that we use nearly 350 gallons a day! We discussed how doing something simple like picking up litter impacts the entire world around us in multiple and important ways.  From this Revolution: DASH was formed. The founding members determined this awesome name for their community service club, which will meet monthly to do service and talk about social justice.

While we haven’t yet decided on the mission of the club (stay tuned for next month), my goal for the club is to help our young residents: recognize their social efficacy, build and explore their passions, and lead purpose driven lives.

Do you want to get involved in the Revolution? If you ideas for our next project or would like to donate lunch, please contact me at: KMusolf@dashdc.wpengine.com

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Share-A-Haircut for DASH!


In need of a haircut? Visit a local Hair Cuttery!

On February 4th and 5th, when any client (adult or child) purchases a haircut at Hair Cuttery, they will match that haircut by donating a free haircut certificate to DASH!  The free certificates will be given to women and children residents at DASH.  Help spread the word!


Newtown Action Alliance visits DASH

On December 12th DASH hosted a group of volunteers from the Newtown Action Alliance (http://newtownaction.org/). This week over 150 volunteers from all over Connecticut traveled to Washington, DC in order to commemorate the tragic events of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting on December 14th, 2012. Groups of Newtown Action Alliance volunteers were working all around the metro area in order to infect DC residents with kindness, and it worked! We immensely enjoyed having them. They helped us prepare picture frames for our upcoming talent show and organized our art supplies closet. For DASH, the experience was humbling.  We appreciate their work and for allowing us to be a part of this day.


DASH Partners with People Animals Love!

pupDASH is proud to announce a new partnership with People Animals Love (PAL). Twice a month, volunteers with dogs will be joining DASH children and their mothers for some pet therapy and playtime.
November 2nd was the first PAL event and it was beautiful outside. We had two pup2puppies, Paris and Tamu, join us for an afternoon of fun on the playground. Paris even came dressed in costume as a banana split! Both the dogs are trained by PAL to work with people and are calm, loving animals. We ran around, played on the playground, did tricks and enjoyed some cuddling with the puppies. After an hour of hardy playing, both the puppies and the kids were ready for naps. We can’t wait to have the puppies and their owners back in two weeks!

Happy Halloween from DASH!

photo (2)The DASH Community Room at Cornerstone on Wednesday was an explosion of dragons, bumblebees, doctors and ninjas as the DASH kids picked out their Halloween costumes. The excitement in the air was palpable as the kids dug through mountains of donated costumes. It took some kids over a half hour to choose between being a ninja, a zombie, a knight or batman for this Halloween. It’s thanks to the work of the Red Derby that they get to choose between so many wonderful options. The Red Derby donated over 70 costumes and dozens and dozens of bags of Halloween candy to DASH again this year, helping to make it special and fun for all our kids and their moms.

photo (3)Tonight the kids will celebrating Halloween at a Halloween party hosted by Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. The community room has been decorated, there is green spaghetti in the fridge candy everywhere in the office. It looks like it’s going to be a fun, spooky night.

photo (6)As the kids are celebrating Halloween at DASH, we will be celebrating BalderDASH at Agora bar for our annual fall fundraiser. Stop by for a chance to win the costume contest and meet some of our great staff!


Art Group: From the Children’s Perspective

ArtGroup1Every week Beth and Anne Marie, two of our outstanding and dedicated volunteers from the Red Derby, have been teaching an Art Class to the kids of DASH. The class is a huge favorite among the children; they love the teachers, the fun projects and the chance to unleash their creativity.

photo-1Alice*says that she appreciates the class because of the positive encouragement that she gets: “I can’t draw, but they always tell me I can. Even when I mess up they’re like, ‘oh that’s sooo good!’”(It should be noted that Alice is in fact an amazing artist who last week used feathers and glitter to create a wacky, unique mask.)

Alice also talked about how different and fun the projects are every week, “I didn’t do any of this in art class last year.” The art projects Continue Reading

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