Our Blog


Finding Hope and Community: My Journey from Florida to D.C. with Friendship Place

A blog submission by a Before Thirty Participant

Before I left Florida and came to D.C., I was still trying to find solutions for everything, but it just wasn’t working out for me. I felt there were more opportunities somewhere else. I would usually try to find places to get food and basic necessities. I would always find time to write about my week or day to keep me motivated, as well as writing poetry. I knew that was one way I could express myself. I’m still learning how to navigate, and writing helps with trying to find solutions. I would find myself going to quieter places just to get some rest. I also did some research, but I knew I couldn’t just rely on that; I’d have to take my chances, and I’m actually glad I did.

There were many things I wanted to move past. I wasn’t really nervous about traveling so far to look for help. I knew it would be worth it. Sometimes you have to get away from what you are used to and out of your comfort zone. I was usually always by myself and wanted to try a different kind of community. When I first came to D.C., I didn’t know what to expect or how I was going to manage being homeless. However, through Friendship Place, I was able to figure out how to maneuver through my situation.

Coming to D.C. showed me that there are opportunities for me to grow as an individual and in my career. Being here makes me feel seen and heard in a positive way. There are so many resources to help you get where you need to be and want to be. I thank my friend Scarlet for being a listening ear and being there just to talk if need be. I was nervous because I’m part of the LGBT community, but I was able to see the way people who are part of that community live and have the will and right to live in this city, and it gave me hope. Coming from a place where our visibility is being taken away and looked at as a criminal offense, I was reassured that it was okay to be myself and just exist.

Having the opportunity to speak with someone about my situation and how I was looking for employment really put me out there. I enjoy being able to ride the metro, and the fact that the bus is always running made me feel like I was actually doing something with myself. I am very proud of the way that D.C. opened its arms to me and welcomed me in a time when I was starting to think that I was not going to be able to get anywhere or do anything. I love the resources that are available here, from needing clothes or washing your clothes, to the many food banks and places to get a hot meal, to transportation, and even needing a phone and clinic services. Being able to find places for food will give anyone struggling with that issue a sense of well-being.

I would tell anyone who’s planning to relocate to D.C. and in need of any assistance to come and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Being patient and kind goes a long way, especially when you know what kind of heart you have and what your intentions are in the world. I reached a point where I knew I needed to do something because I know what kind of life I want to live and deserve to live. Friendship Place really gave me a positive outlook on how to deal with my situation, understanding that these aren’t just people here to collect money; some of them have also faced homelessness and are indeed ready to assist and help. But you have to be ready for it and, again, allow yourself to be vulnerable. Someone is always there to speak with you.

I would tell anyone who may be facing difficulties trying to get on the right track to go to Friendship Place, even if their needs aren’t like my own, because I know they help with many things and will direct you to the right resources. Again, I want to thank my friends at Friendship Place for giving me that push I needed to really get out there and strive for better. I am very grateful to have met and worked with you all.

Before Thirty is part of our Youth & Young Adult-focused programs which target young adults who lack stable housing and connect them with the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Before Thirty is a person-centered program that provides supportive services to youth and young adults aged 17-29 (including single mothers) experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Friendship Place staff regularly meet with youths in the program to design customized plans that help them to achieve their goals. 

To learn more, visit our Youth & Young Adult page here.

To join our LGBTQIA+ Workgroup, visit our page here.

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