This year marks five years since we started serving senior women in New Journeys permanent-supportive housing program, which assists six women at a time in achieving stability and housing.
“We noticed that we were getting more seniors coming through our transitional program so we talked about using one cluster (six rooms) at our 611 N Street location for seniors due to the growing need,” said Executive Director Wanda Steptoe.
The reason for this uptick of homeless seniors, Wanda speculated, is that the services these women needed years ago didn’t exist so some of them have ended up spending decades on the street. “Now with more city programming, the hope is that we are reaching people in need earlier,” Wanda said.
Since opening New Journeys, we have served dozens of women in need of permanent-supportive housing and services. Women like Mary who worked for the Democratic National Committee for 25 years before she got sick and needed open-heart surgery. “I lost everything,” she said. She couldn’t pay her bills and ended up on the street. “I was scared to death,” she said.
Now at NEW, she is an active member of the community. She regularly volunteers for NEW and N Street Village, and hopes to get involved volunteering for the upcoming Democratic presidential campaign. “NEW has been very helpful,” she said. “I’ve had the time to get healthy.”
Due to the success of New Journeys, two years ago, we opened New Journeys II which houses and supports 15 women in individual apartments in Southeast.
“What we do is so important. These women are the most vulnerable population in DC. They have been chronically homeless for so long,” said Naisha Price, the Program Manager for New Journeys II. “These women have been the forgotten population for so long. We renew their faith with the message that they are not forgotten.”
“It’s tragic when you see a woman who has lived for decades on the street. It’s impossible to even imagine what that would be like. These women need help, and I am so glad we are able to provide it to them through our New Journeys programs,” Wanda said.