In December we hosted our last virtual event of the year to hear from Housing Up’s Director of Resident Services, our Permanent Supportive Housing Clinical Manager, and our Vice President of Philanthropy and Communications. We reflected on the past twelve months and shared what we’re excited about in the year ahead.
Nkem Offor, Director of Resident Services, discussed the importance of community support this past year. In 2021 alone, partners have hosted more than 50 service days with families. He emphasized how great it has been to be able to return to some in-person activities and highlighted several organizations that have stepped up for the families we serve, including St. Columba’s Episcopal Church , Hearts of Empowerment, and Hola Cultura. He also discussed some of the struggles families faced this past year. Rent and utility charges began adding up as the pandemic continued and there were heightened challenges for undocumented families who were unable to receive unemployment and other federal aid. We provided essential assistance to residents navigating aid and benefit programs such as food stamps and STAY DC, a program which provided rent and utility assistance to families during the pandemic. We also hosted community markets with food donated by some of our partners. With the end of the eviction moratorium, we are committed to ensuring families maintain their safe and affordable housing.
Sonia Gahimbare, Permanent Supportive Housing Clinical Manager, spoke about the many mental and emotional health challenges families are navigating, the increase in the prevalence of domestic violence, and the significant stress the pandemic added to parents and children. While stay-at-home orders have been necessary for public health, some families experienced mental and physical safety concerns while forced to quarantine with people inside and outside of their households. . It continues to be difficult to navigate the school systems as COVID-19 outbreaks cause children to need to quarantine sporadically. To combat these challenges, we helped families reconnect to mental health services and find additional resources.
Christina Peay, VP of Philanthropy and Communications, touched on Housing Up’s affordable housing development. Housing Up currently serves just over 900 families and owns/operates 426 units of affordable housing in Washington, DC. We also have 361 units of affordable housing in our development pipeline, and we continue to search for ways to add more deeply affordable units to the city’s affordable housing stock. As of January, we serve just over 900 families and by summer 2022 we expect to serve close to 1,000 families. will be serving over 1,000 families. We are excited to keep expanding our partnerships and finding creative ways for our families to receive the services they deserve.
While we’ve achieved a lot this year, we couldn’t have done this work without our wonderful community of supporters. Both donations and volunteers are essential to our mission and to the families we serve. Please make your donation today or click here to find out more about our volunteer opportunities. You can also watch last month’s full panel discussion above, and check out our 2021 Annual Report for a full picture of what we accomplished last year!