Our Story

Our Story

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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Talented and professional

Leadership

Arthur L. Cutler II

President & CEO

Tecoy Bailey-Wade

Housing Manager & Resident Coordinator

Althea Batticks

Permanent Supportive Housing Program Director

Stephanie Fleming

Program Manager

Nakia Anthony

Operations & HR Director

Esther Lepcha

LICSW; Clinical Supervisor

COMMITTED AND PROFESSIONAL

The Board

Edgar Ndjatou

Edgar Ndjatou

Chair

Sharon Mcdonald

Sharon Mcdonald

Secretary

Daniel Mauer

Daniel Mauer

Treasurer

Jane Demarines

Jane Demarines

Ilana Boivie

Ilana Boivie

Michelle Durham

Michelle Durham

Joshua Erlich

Joshua Erlich

Paul Goldman

Mitchell Greenstein

Metrice Jones

Shellon Fraser

The Numbers​

mission
Website design

In 2018, the District of Columbia had an estimated 6,904 experiencing homelessness on any given day. Of that total, 1,781 were individuals experiencing homelessness.

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eCommerce solutions

Open Arms Housing prioritizes single adult women and families who are on the D.C. Government's Department of Mental Health and Department of Human Services homeless "vulnerability" lists.

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Web development

The D.C. Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) identifies 391 single women and families who are chronically homeless and in need of housing of whom 132 are also affected by serious mental illness.

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Interactive design

OAH clients are early middle-aged to elderly and have various disabilities such as mental illness, substance abuse disorders, debilitating physical conditions, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

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