New Endeavors by Women
NEW partners with homeless women to create new futures. NEW transforms lives with housing, the development of life skills, and education and employment to end the cycle of homelessness.
Each year NEW helps more than 200 women and children move out of homelessness by providing housing, fostering the development of life skills, and promoting education and employment, to end the cycle of homelessness. There is a tremendous documented -- and growing -- need in the District of Columbia for the unique services that we provide. Homelessness affects more than 1,300 women in the District of Columbia. According to The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP), more than 15,000 people are homeless in Washington, DC over the course of a typical year, one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country.
On a single night in January 2015, there were 7,298 persons counted in the city’s annual homeless census conducted by TCP. A total of 3,821 homeless single adults were counted in the 2014 homeless census in the District. Among them, 12% reported a history of substance abuse and 25% suffered from severe mental illness (including those with dual diagnosis); 8% reported chronic health problems; and, 13% were physically disabled. Among homeless adults in the District, 63% reported no income of any kind, while 14% of adults in families reported no income. Some 15% of single homeless adults reported experiencing domestic violence at some point in their lives. During the census there were 1,593 unaccompanied homeless adults and 66 persons in families in the District who met the federal definition of being “chronically homeless,” defined as homeless persons with a disabling condition who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or who have four or more episodes of homelessness within the past three years.
NEW is guided by a mission to partner with homeless women to create new futures. We provide a nurturing environment so that women can recognize their worth. NEW transforms lives, by providing housing, fostering the development of life skills, and promoting education and employment, to end the cycle of homelessness.
New Endeavors by Women (NEW) was founded by a group of Washington, DC advocates for the homeless in July 1988 to provide urgently-needed housing and support to homeless women. Since opening our first women’s-only transitional shelter, NEW has expanded to seven housing programs—two transitional programs and five permanent supportive programs. In addition to shelter, our programs provide an array of services to support women and children’s social, health, educational and employment needs.
Our programs provide so much more than housing. We reconnect mothers and children torn apart by homelessness and poverty. We support women overcoming addiction to take control of their futures. We work closely with our residents to achieve their educational and employment goals as the stepping stones to better lives. Housing is just the beginning.
NEW operates seven housing programs: two transitional and five permanent supportive programs, including two housing programs exclusively for families. Each year we provide as many as 140 women and 80 or more children with: safe shelter; advocacy and case management; independent living skills education; substance abuse recovery assistance; parenting skills training; academic enrichment activities; employment and career counseling; strategies for obtaining and maintaining permanent affordable housing; on-site support groups and workshops; therapeutic and recreational activities; and, permanent housing.
We help homeless women and children achieve success in the midst of times for them that are usually filled with despair and chaos. A woman begins charting a path to create new futures on day one of her stay at a NEW with the development of her own individual service plan with goals for becoming self-sufficient. NEW case managers, education and employment specialists, and substance abuse counselors work with her to achieve her personal goals.
NEW’s personal development supports focus on: building independence through an independent living skills program; education and job readiness; employment and career building. Through workshops and one-on-one sessions with NEW program staff, women pursue their goals and develop life management techniques, including budgeting time and finances. NEW encourages residents to improve their reading and math skills, and, if they do not have a high school diploma, to work towards taking the high school equivalency exam or enrolling in a job training program. Residents who wish to pursue higher education receive assistance with loan and grant applications, and choosing a school that best suits their needs.
NEW helps residents coordinate job training and employment searches. To foster long-term success, NEW focuses on career-oriented employment with advancement opportunities. NEW's Resident Resources Advocate works with each woman to identify her job skills, update her resume, write cover letters, and practice interview situations. The residents receive employment referrals or, if they are already employed, help in advancing in their current position. NEW also provides an in-house computer lab where women can develop a resume and search for jobs and housing.
NEW offers both short-term and long-term planning, housing and support to both women and children. We continue to believe that our greatest strength is the sum of the many people working together for NEW, from our board to our staff, donors and volunteers. Women – and their children – come to us, generally, with a plethora of issues that contribute to and result from their homelessness. No longer is the typical homeless woman likely to be somebody who suffered a single, causative incident, such as losing a job. Today’s homeless women are beset by layers of challenges, including being under- or unemployed, unskilled, uneducated and suffering from addictions and/or mental health problems. Generational homelessness is more often an issue, leaving women who have never experienced stability of home, work and family. More and more youth are aging out of the foster care system or out of their own family’s homelessness, leading to a population that is becoming ever younger with each passing year. Our program staff sifts through the layers and skillfully prioritizes individual case management strategies that will lead each woman and her family to create a new future; to climb out of chronic homelessness.
Since we opened our doors in 1988, we have served more than 3,500 women and more than 500 children. In 2015, our successes included: providing housing with support services to 206 people, including 127 women and 79 children; moving 86% of transitional residents to permanent housing; and, working closely with residents to improve job retention and employment stability, leading to increased earnings which averaged more than $11.00 per hour. Among our residents who are able to work, 80% secured jobs or enrolled in school. We also had 8 residents who enrolled in college courses.
We take pride in being responsible stewards of our donors’ investments in our work. NEW’s administrative and fundraising costs are less than 16%. That means that 84 cents of every dollar raised pays for direct services to the homeless women and children who reside in our housing programs.