Taking a Leading Role on Women’s Homelessness in D.C. – Introducing the Women’s Services Task Force

NEW Executive Director Wanda Steptoe joined Kris Thompson, executive director of Calvary Women’s Services, on Friday, June 9th, to host a meeting of the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH)* Women’s Task Force. About 40 people representing over 25 agencies participated in the meeting, committing themselves to improving the lives of homeless women in our community. Together Wanda and Kris co-chair the Women’s Task Force, which was created to address the experiences and needs of homeless women in Washington, DC.

“I am honored to take a leadership role in working with DC government, service providers and community leaders to continue to make services for homeless women a priority,” says Wanda. “The need is critical and we hope to make a lasting difference.”

With the support of the Community Partnership, and using data from the 2017 Point-in-Time Enumeration for the District of Columbia, the Task Force will release a fact sheet on homeless adult women who are single and who are not experiencing homelessness as part of a family unit. NEW serves this population plus children of homeless women. Calvary serves single women.

The data points to a significant need – and it verifies what we experience every day at NEW:

  • 42% of homeless women report experiencing domestic violence prior to their homelessness
  • 48% of women currently homeless are over the age of 55
  • 69% report at least one disabling condition, including 49% who report severe mental illness

The data also points to the need for more temporary and permanent housing for women. The Task Force will collaborate with women’s homeless services providers, domestic violence providers, and other community stakeholders to lift up these critical issues and work toward lasting solutions. To that end, the Task Force is currently reviewing:

  • Women’s ability to access safe and stable housing in the District;
  • The shortage of temporary shelter accommodations set aside for Women; and
  • The intersection between domestic/intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and trafficking, in partnership with providers if domestic violence housing and services.

When Wanda and Kris began working on this, they talked about the women they see every day in their programs – women who come to the door with visible injuries and scared expressions on their face; women who are over 65 years old and have no way of making rent in DC with only a social security income; women who have lost their homes and income because of health problems.

* The ICH is a group of cabinet-level leaders, providers of homeless services, advocates, homeless and formerly homeless leaders that come together to inform and guide the District’s strategies and policies for meeting the needs of those who are homeless in DC.

New Endeavors by Women Named ‘One of the Best’ Nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy

After a careful vetting process, the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington has selected New Endeavors by Women (NEW) to be part of the Class of 2017-18. NEW has undergone an extensive review process, and has met the Catalogue’s high standards. Potential donors can be confident that the nonprofits in the Catalogue are worthy of their support.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the Catalogue for Philanthropy,” says Wanda Steptoe, NEW’s executive director. “Our work with homeless women and children is critical to meet the need in DC — our presence in the Catalogue will help us gain more support for those we serve.” Read more

NEW Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

Leslie Gutierrez and family

Leslie Gutierrez answers the phone politely, but you can tell she really doesn’t have time. She’s the oldest of four, and a student of Duke Ellington School of the Arts in DC, and in charge on the afternoon she speaks with us. The conversation is, by turns, illuminating and funny.

Leslie is 15. Her siblings are Randolfo Campos, 12, Elias Campos 11, and one voluble Kassandra Campos, 8. Their mother, Geisy Ceberino was a NEW client who benefitted from New Endeavors by Women’s (NEW) New Horizons program. She couldn’t really take the time to talk because she is employed as a home health aide worker. It falls to Leslie to fill in why NEW, and the YEP! program (Youth Enrichment Program) in particular, has made a difference for the whole family. Read more

Will You Help Support YEP! On Giving Tuesday 2016?

A note from Wanda Steptoe, NEW’s executive director:

Right now, our staff and residents are doing what you probably are too — gearing up for Thanksgiving.

Some of those residents are kids — infants, toddlers, and teens. And I cannot tell you what joy they bring to the room! Which it is why it pains me to tell you that we have lost funding for the Youth Enrichment Program, YEP!, the one NEW program designed to provide academic support and life skills to our youth residents. Read more

Thank You, Bank Of America!

Tamara Gifford, VP/Community Relations Manager of Greater Washington, DC presents the check to NEW Executive Director Wanda Steptoe.The Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently awarded us a $15,000 grant. We’re excited about this new partnership with Bank of America, which understands the power of making connections in the communities in which they live and work.

Every penny counts as we seek to meet the women — and their families — who come to us, where they are, and as they need, in their path from homelessness to shelter and new beginnings.

Thank you!

Read more

Anne Raffaelli: “We all deserve dignity.”

Former NEW executive director, Mary Popit doesn’t mince words about the woman who will be honored with the award that bears her name. “Without Anne, NEW could have fallen apart.” She’s speaking, of course, about Anne Raffaelli, a longtime supporter and former board chair of NEW. She stepped down in December 2015 after more than 23 years of service, and is this year’s recipient of the Mary Popit Partner in Caring Award.

Anne Raffaelli
Anne Raffaelli, 2016

Mary says Anne brought a “stick-to-it-iveness” to NEW that has sustained the organization. “You have to have a good staff AND a good board that offers oversight, and makes sure you see the bigger picture. You can’t have one without the other. Anne was instrumental in making sure that happened.” Wanda Steptoe, NEW’s current executive director – who took over from Mary describes Anne more succinctly: “Committed, passionate, caring.”

Anne says she was simply doing her job as a board member, being an “asker in chief,” and asking the questions that needed to be asked. “Because it’s what a board should do.” Read more

Give To NEW’s 2016 Spring Challenge By May 18 And Win Nats Tickets

Washington_NationalsOur executive director, Wanda Steptoe said something moving last month when the first shoots of determined green emerged in the first flush of spring. “Like the tulips,” she said, “the women of are always pushing forward insistently, bent on showing their beauty and thriving in the world around us.” Read more

NEW Alum Petrina Williams: “I Chose Joy.”

Petrina Williams, with her son Jordan Alexander Williams

The words “remarkable” and “survivor” routinely apply to NEW alumna. Even so, Petrina Williams breaks the mold. Like many NEW alumna, Williams, now a NEW board member, has been through challenges that would fell the rest of us. Yet as she talks about her experiences with matter-of-fact honesty, she radiates happiness and a joy for living. For example, her outgoing voicemail message, where you can practically hear her smile, invites you to “Have a great day—on purpose!” No doubt, it is that upbeat attitude that has carried Williams through life. And what a life it has been.  Read more