Friendship Place’s mission is to empower people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to obtain stable housing and rebuild their lives. Our vision is a DC region and a nation in which every person has a place to call “home.”
Our goal is to end homelessness in Washington, DC, and to establish a sustainable model which can be replicated across the nation.
Friendship Place is the premier housing service provider for people experiencing homelessness in the DC region. Our innovative, customized, person-focused programs empower participants to rebuild their lives, find homes, get jobs and reconnect with friends, family and the community, permanently. In 2017, our programs ended or prevented homelessness for 1,500 people through creative, customized housing solutions. Across all of our programs, Friendship Place served more than 3,600 individuals in 2017.
In 1991, the District of Columbia government proposed opening a 50-bed emergency shelter for homeless men at the Guy Mason Recreation Center in upper Northwest Washington, the wealthiest area of the District.
Many in the area reacted negatively to the proposal. They argued that there were no homeless people in upper Northwest, so services for them were not needed.
Other neighbors, however, thought it was time for the residents of upper Northwest to do their part to find positive solutions to homelessness in our city. A small group of these concerned citizens convened to look for ways to make a difference. They decided to answer the question once and for all: Were there homeless people living in their midst? In a one-night survey, they fanned out through Ward 3 and found, among the stately homes, more than 100 men and women living in parks and alleyways.
That was all it took. The group mobilized. Joined by several local congregations, they opened a drop-in center on Wisconsin Avenue in Tenley and five small congregation-based shelters.
That was the grassroots beginning of Friendship Place.
In 2008, we expanded to serve throughout the District, and by 2011 our services were reaching into the surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia.
Nonetheless, even though we now help more than 3,600 people a year, Friendship Place still retains the feel of a small, caring neighborhood organization. The most commonly repeated refrain we hear from the people who come to us for help is this: “At other agencies I felt like a number. At Friendship Place, I’m treated like a human being.”
Today, Friendship Place has more than 120 paid staff members, and serves throughout the DC Metro region. Our successful, award-winning initiatives have a lasting impact on the lives of more than 3,600 people a year. Friendship Place programs, such as street outreach, drop-in center, free medical and psychiatric clinic, shelters and transitional housing facilities, permanent supportive and rapid rehousing, job placement, and specialized programs for veterans and youth have had such outstanding outcomes that our models are studied by government and nonprofit entities all over the country wishing to replicate our success.