We are excited that Polly Donaldson has been appointed Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development by incoming Mayor Muriel Bowser. As THC’s Director of Development, Mark Chambers said, “There is no one better than Polly at understanding the importance of systems change in addressing the issues of homelessness and then moving policy and policymakers toward those changes.”
From the beginning, Polly has been a force of inspiration and leadership for Transitional Housing Corporation in one way or another. “Polly is a tenacious leader dedicated to ending chronic homelessness in DC,” emphasized Blaise Rastello, THC’s Director of Affordable Housing. 25 years ago, she was the President of the Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (SMGW) Board of Directors when they recognized a need for housing for the people they were serving. It was then that they founded THC in partnership with Christ Lutheran Church and several other Episcopal churches in the DC community. She was on the original THC board, in 1993, when volunteers furnished all 14 apartments in Partner Arms 1, and 14 families moved in on the same day. This marked the beginning of THC’s mission of providing housing and services to homeless and at-risk families.
Polly moved to DC 27 years ago and quickly became involved her local community. After a 17-year career in international development and much volunteer activity in her local community, Polly began a new role at THC in 2004 as Executive Director. As Danielle Mulack, THC’s Director of Programs expanded, “Polly has demonstrated tireless commitment to THC and ending family homelessness in DC. She grew THC from a small organization serving 30 families to a comprehensive housing and services provider reaching 500 families per year. Polly’s leadership has impacted not only the families we serve, but also the greater housing and homeless services policy environment in the District.”
During the past ten years, THC has also expanded from exclusively providing transitional housing to implementing a broader housing continuum that includes transitional, permanent supportive housing, affordable housing and rapid rehousing. Her commitment to helping end family homelessness by 2020 has been an important guiding force that has driven THC to become one of the largest family housing providers in Washington, DC. Beyond her work within the walls of THC, Polly has a strong voice of advocacy for workable solutions to end homelessness though her work on committees on the Fenty and Gray administrations, the Bowser transition team and the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED).
We are thankful for her unwavering guidance at THC, her optimistic and innovative vision, and
her commitment to the DC community and those most in need. We have no doubt that she will do incredible work at DHCD that will make this city a place where housing is affordable and attainable for all.
Read the article in the Washington Post to learn more!