We provide a continuum of low-barrier safe housing options and holistic services to ALL domestic and sexual violence survivors – women, men, LGBTQ+ survivors, immigrant survivors, and elder survivors.
DASH is here for you. We have Spanish-speaking advocates on staff, and will provide language interpretation services for other languages, including ASL.
Cornerstone Building/Emergency and Transitional Safe Housing
When it opened in November 2010, the Cornerstone Residence became the District’s largest dedicated safe housing program. Here, DASH provides 42 apartment units for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families in crisis. Residents may live at Cornerstone for free for up to 24 months while working with DASH advocates (case workers) to address their needs and ultimately live safely and independently. All services are offered on a voluntary basis, affording residents the opportunity to determine their own goals toward re-establishing their lives on their own terms. All residents are connected to a range of community resources to help them move toward long-term or permanent housing, as well as emotional and financial independence.
“It is just more freedom. At DASH you don’t really feel like as if you’re in a program. It feels like home versus the other program that I had gone through, it just felt like you’re passing through.”
Empowerment Project/Transitional to Permanent Housing
Our scattered site transitional-to-permanent housing project, called the Empowerment Program (EP), is an innovative approach to providing housing for survivors whose credit and rental histories were damaged during abusive relationships, which often prevents them from establishing housing stability long after the abuse has ended. EP is based on the principles of the Housing First evidence-based model, to stabilize housing immediately, so other needs can be met. Participants are offered the opportunity to sign a lease on an apartment of their choosing that best meets their familial, financial and safety needs, made possible by the relationships DASH has established with landlords across the city. DASH provides a rental subsidy, along with intensive supportive services and resources, so the individuals and families can become financially independent over the course of two years. DASH’s Empowerment Advocate works with each participant to focus on financial goals such as paying down debt, restoring damaged credit and saving money for future goals, all while building a solid rental history in a safe apartment unit. After two years (or sooner), participants are poised to take over full financial responsibility of their apartment.
Right to Dream
Right to Dream is scattered site transitional-to-permanent housing for transitioning youth (aged 18-24 years) who are survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence and are experiencing housing instability or homelessness. Drawing on our experience running scattered site housing programs, Right to Dream will help transitioning youth survivors’ access safe and stable housing, recover from their trauma, and increase their empowerment and wellbeing.
Right to Dream will expand the availability of youth-friendly, survivor-focused, long-term transitional housing in the District.
Survivor Resilience Fund
Through our Survivor Resilience Fund, DASH provides emergency financial assistance to help survivors address needs which might threaten their permanent housing, help them achieve safety, and gain the support they need to move forward with their lives. This innovative fund can cover a number of expenses including home security measures, utilities, moving costs, legal or medical fees and first month’s rent. In addition to determining what financial support is needed, DASH staff will go over a safety and wellness plan with survivors to help equip them to remain safe while in the community. Providing survivors with financial support such as this can mean the difference between housing stability and life on the streets.
Without the funding from our Survivor Resilience Fund, this survivor felt that she and her young child would have entered the homeless system:
“It was very important for me [flex funding] because I can keep a roof over my daughter’s head. And it’s even more amazing now because he’s not there so it’s more safe for her and I, as well. And . . . my apartment is so convenient to my job, her school—everything.”
In a recent published evaluation of this innovative fund, 94% of survivors were still stably housed at 6 months after receiving the flexible funding.
Safe Nights Fund
As DC’s largest provider of safe housing for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families, DASH finds innovative solutions to the up-to-the-minute challenges in our region. 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 is the only agency with a flexible funding program, the Survivor Resilience Fund, that allows us to quickly offer support – such as the Safe Nights support – for whatever survivors need to prevent homelessness and keep them safe. The lack of these immediately accessible funds at other programs has led to some survivors falling through cracks in the local safety net at the cost of their lives. Other sources of hotel vouchers can take days to access; such delays are retraumatizing for survivors in danger.
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 identify housing through the Rapid Rehousing Program – which takes 5 days on average.
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.
Housing Resource Center
The Housing Resource Center (HRC) is the hub of DASH’s efforts to prevent homelessness among domestic and sexual violence survivors. We assist survivors in completing housing applications, obtaining safety transfers, navigating the public housing system, and making connections to community services. Survivors can conduct housing searches in our computer lab and work one-on-one with Housing Specialists.
DASH also conducts a weekly drop-in Housing Resource Clinic, informing survivors of their rights and protections under federal and local housing laws, and providing strategies for finding housing. Our Housing Resource Center Online is a web-based information clearinghouse with comprehensive information on housing programs for survivors, including details on admission processes, eligibility requirements, and accessibility for people with disabilities.