House of Ruth
Founded in 1976 as Washington, D.C.’s first women's shelter, House of Ruth's mission is to help women, children and families in greatest need and with very limited resources build safe, stable lives and achieve their highest potential. At 14 supportive housing programs, a therapeutic developmental day care facility, and a free domestic violence counseling center, we serve more than 1,000 women and children every year.
We enfold clients in an environment that is safe, structured and predictable, where they receive highly responsive, caring and respectful attention from the staff. The women and children participate in a wide variety of services and supports to stabilize the issues that led to homelessness and abuse and acquire the skills for safer, more self-sufficient lives. This includes case management as well as individual and group counseling.
Our skilled and compassionate staff works hard from the moment a family or individual woman arrives to build a relationship with each person. Early days are spent getting the woman or family connected with critical financial resources, such as food stamps and crime victims' compensation.
Delivering these and other tangible resources (like food and clothing) helps the staff bond with the women and families. Our assistance is practical and hands-on. We will sit with a woman and help her fill out the forms necessary to apply for public benefits and go with her to court appointments concerning child custody and other legal matters. By being present for the women and children, we establish our credibility with them and they begin to trust us. Mothers receive parenting support through groups on child development and staff members model positive parenting practices in their daily interactions with our families.
The space where we deliver housing and services is important. It is safe, warm and nurturing. The people that we place in the paths of the women and children we serve are also vital to success. Our Program Coordinators, Case Managers and Life Skills Trainers are the heart of House of Ruth's residential programs. They have the compassion, skills and know-how to build strong partnerships with the women and children, relationships that help the women and children heal and grow. Similarly, the teachers and family advocates at our Kidspace therapeutic day care center and the therapists at the Domestic Violence Support Center are highly skilled and trained, and dedicated to the well-being of the women and children.
At Kidspace, our therapeutic child development center, homeless children from six weeks to five years old receive enriching child care and developmental interventions, and their parents receive case management to address the challenges in their lives and to positively engage them in the development and education of their children. Due to the trauma in their lives, nearly all of the children entering Kidspace experience development delays; two-thirds achieve their developmental targets after one year of services. The early childhood curriculum is enriched with speech and language, play and occupational therapy.
At the Domestic Violence Support Center, located in downtown DC, a team of skilled counselors provides psychotherapy to survivors of domestic violence as well as case management services to help them address the practical challenges in their lives, like housing and employment.