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In the past five years of widespread economic hardship, the number of homeless individuals in Washington, DC spiked 20%. High unemployment, rising healthcare costs, and ensuing foreclosures are driving more and more families from their homes and exacting painful tolls upon low-income households.
While homeless individuals can be found throughout the District of Columbia, the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River present these men, women, and families with extreme challenges. Poverty, unemployment, and violent crime are especially prevalent in these communities – but there is only one organization providing outreach services to their homeless population: DC Central Kitchen.
We provide warm breakfasts and counsel to single, homeless adults who have spent years on the streets, helping them start on the path to recovery. But today, our clients also include homeless families, individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time due to foreclosure and job loss, and struggling households turning to us to supplement their food supply.
Our Outreach Specialists also connect clients to housing, health, and social services that meet their specific needs. In the past year, we began ‘in-reach,’ visiting prisons to help individuals nearing release prepare to re-enter society and prevent homelessness before it starts. And once these men and women are in shelters and other assistance programs, we strengthen their bodies and minds through quality meals service.
Our meal distribution program provides quality nutrition to scores of area agencies serving homeless clients at little or no cost, allowing them to redirect precious resources toward other client needs. We complete the circle of empowerment by recruiting adults served by these organizations for our Culinary Job Training program, preparing them to leave homelessness behind forever.