New shelter in Southeast DC hopes to help women too sick for the streets

Hope Has a Home shelter
A new homeless shelter will be opening up in Southeast D.C. called Hope Has a Home for women not quite sick enough to stay in the hospital, but who still need medical care. (WTOP/John Domen)
Hope Has a Home shelter
The shelter will have 24-hour assistance for those staying there. (WTOP/John Domen)
Hope Has a Home shelter
Hope Has a Home shelter

Being homeless can go hand in hand with a variety of other ailments, both physical and mental.

But being homeless also means you’re not likely to have much opportunity for treatment. Now a new shelter in D.C., the first of its kind that’s just for women, is set to open with the goal of bridging that gap.

The shelter, called Hope Has a Home in Southeast, hopes to help about 30 women every year who are recovering from recent medical treatment.

“They’re well enough to be discharged, but not well enough to return to unsafe environments,” said LaToya Ramsey, director of peer services at Volunteers of America.

“That could be diabetes, high blood pressure, we do have individuals that have amputations,” she added. “And it’s things that pretty much will need consistent follow up once they’re discharged from the hospital.”

This means they’ll need more one-on-one contact that normally a primary physician will provide. But because of a variety issues, they’re not able to make appointments, but they also need somewhere to house them comfortably, and still have 24-hour care for nurses facilities.

This shelter does have 24-hour assistance for those who are staying there. Volunteers of America is able to provide help for physical and mental health there, as well as substance abuse treatment. Right now there’s one person there already, but more are expected to arrive next week when the ribbon is cut and it officially opens.

“Any organization, any entity that has a person in need, who needs housing and also medical care, they’ll send us a referral directly,” Ramsey said.

But with eight beds in the home, space is limited. And while there are a handful of facilities like this for men, this one is the only medical respite shelter that’s just for women.

“When it comes to medical respite, it’s very limited resources in Washington, D.C.,” Ramsey said.

“For a variety of issues, when it comes to females in particular, there is abundance of resources when it comes to housing … but we don’t really have a lot of organizations willing to partner with the medical side as well.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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