Day Center to Replace MLK as a Refuge for Residents Experiencing Homelessness

DHS Community Outreach Response and Engagement (CORE) team member, Moses Smith with Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy* was born in the largest, most northwestern state in all of the United States. Her beautiful hometown is equal distance from New York City, Tokyo, and Berlin. She made the long journey to the District of Columbia from Anchorage, Alaska fleeing a Domestic Violence incident. After a string of mishaps, she is currently residing in low barrier, emergency shelter, and had been using the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (MLK) as a refuge during the day while the shelter is closed.

“After breakfast at SOME [So Others Might Eat] I used to go to the library to read books and use computers. Now I read and use the computers at the Day Center. I also like the lunch there and talking to the case managers,” replied Mary when asked about her alternative day plans since the MLK closure.

Mary is one of approximately 100 residents experiencing homelessness in the District who gathered at the MLK library during the daytime to use the computers, participate in activities, read and socialize. Since the library’s closure, DHS has implemented alternative transportation routes to connect individuals experiencing homelessness with the services they may need.

New Transportation Loop Services

The computer lab at the Adams Place Day Center is a valued resource for those who gather there daily
  • Minnesota Avenue & Benning Road, NE.
    The first stop in the new transportation loop is Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road, NE. Individuals can take advantage of employment services at the Department of Employment Services, access computers and other reading materials at the Dorothy Height/Benning Road Library and health care at the Unity Health Care Clinic.
  • Adams Place Day Center — 2210 Adams Place, NE.
    The next stop is the Adams Place Day Center. Here, individuals can access case management services, a clothing closet, laundry facilities, showers and computers, as well as eat breakfast and lunch on-site. DHS also partners with Project Empowerment and the American Job Center for co-located services on site during the week.
  • Church of the Epiphany — 1317 G Street, NW.
    The last stop is the Church of the Epiphany. Individuals may sit in the church while it’s open. The Church of the Epiphany is also home to Street Sense.

Adams Place Day Center has also expanded operating hours to 7 am — 6:30 pm, Monday — Friday and added additional computers and other services that have historically drawn people to MLK Library.

Staff at the Adams Place Day Center enjoy serving meals and responding to customer concerns

The following churches are open in the downtown area and will continue to provide supports to individuals during their normal business hours:

  1. New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
    New York Avenue, NW
    Bathrooms and water: Monday — Friday 8 am — 4:30 pm
  2. Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
    1518 M Street, NW
    Bathrooms: Monday — Friday 10 am — 4:30 p,
  3. National City Christian Church
    5 Thomas Circle, NW
    Bathrooms: Open to the public daily
  4. Foundry United Methodist Church
    1500 16th Street, NW
    Bathrooms: Monday — Friday 10 am — 4:30 pm
  5. Catholic Charities
    924 G Street NW
    Homeless services: Monday — Friday 10 am– 4:30 pm
    Meals: Wednesday evenings
  6. SOME (So Others Might Eat)
    71 O Street NW
    Meals: Monday — Friday Breakfast 7–8:30 am; Lunch 11 am — 1 pm
  7. Church of the Epiphany
    1317 G Street NW
    Monday — Friday 10:00 am — 3:00 pm

*Mary Kennedy is an alias used to protect the identity of the subject of this story.

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