How it all started
In 1997, a group of volunteers and service providers specializing in mental health and homelessness recognized a profound gap in supportive housing for the most vulnerable women and families of our city. As a response, Open Arms Housing was incorporated in Washington DC to serve women and families experiencing chronic homelessness and affected by serious mental illness.
Providers saw a need for a facility and program that would offer low-barrier access to women and families who lived on the streets or in emergency shelters and were unable to comply with traditional mental health or substance use treatment settings. This low-demand approach has been called “Housing First”. By Housing First, we mean that, while supportive services will be available on-site and off-site, acceptance of those services will not be a condition for receiving permanent housing.
"Homeless No More"
The District’s strategy for ending homelessness, firmly established Housing First as the keystone to ending homelessness in this city: “This plan moved the District toward the day when it can offer ‘housing first’ options to homeless people, even to those who face the most serious challenges to obtaining and keeping housing.”
At Open Arms Housing, we envision the eradication of chronic homelessness for women and families in Washington, D.C. Every effort is made to create a housing environment in which formerly homeless women and families will want to stay and thrive.
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