Our Blog


MEET: Carolyn

To: The Supervisors and Peers of Mr. Terrence Davis I’m writing to let you know how
much of a hero this man is and how much support and help he has given me.
I will always be in debt to him. God bless him and his family.

With all of my love,

-Carolyn Carter-Owings


“No one could have told me 20 years ago, that I would be homeless. I’ve been working since I was working daycare at church when I was 10 years old.”

Carolyn Carter-Owings has a lifetime of fulfilling jobs behind her. Back in the 1980s, her love of fashion landed her at Saks Jandel in Chevy Chase as assistant buyer. “I was the first black woman who ever worked there. I loved it, to be among all the top designers. I went to New York on buying trips. I helped dress influential people like Ethel Kennedy.”

Ms. Carter-Owings remembers the moment in 2013 when her life was turned upside down. A co-worker said to her, “Ms. Carolyn, you know, your face is swollen on one side.” Within two weeks, she learned that her kidneys were failing. She had to quit work and go on disability, but the payments didn’t keep up with her rent hikes, and her attempts to work part-time were foiled by her fragile health and the demands of nightly home dialysis.

When Ms. Carter-Owings connected with the Home Now program of Friendship Place in 2016, she was living in her car, staying in hotels for a few days at a time – thanks to help from her siblings – and going to the emergency room when that was her only option for dialysis.

Her case manager, Terrence Davis, helped her find an apartment and qualify for supportive housing. In January 2017, she received a kidney transplant. “Mr. Davis was like a fairy godfather. I called him when I went into the hospital and asked him to pray for me.”

“You guys were a blessing,” she says. “I know I’m not the only one who’s gone through something like this, and we need places like Friendship Place.”

Now that she’s recovering, Ms. Carter-Owings hopes to volunteer to mentor others going through serious health challenges. “If I can be a sounding board, if I can help someone along the way, then my living hasn’t been in vain.”

Your Donation Helps End Homelessness!

Your support for Friendship Place has a lasting impact. In 2023, our programs ended or prevented homelessness for 4,993 people, including 1,507 children in families and 670 veterans. We empowered 167 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to get jobs through innovative, state-of-the-art job placement services. Make a donation today in support of our work to end homelessness. Questions? Please feel free to call our fundraising office, 202.957.7834.

Donate Now