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Giving Hope to the Homeless in D.C.

washington dc

A little over 5 years ago, we received an email asking for WordPress help from Gunther Stern of the Georgetown Ministry Center. GMC’s mission is a powerful one: to help guide the chronically homeless population living on the streets of the affluent Georgetown neighborhood in Washington D.C. into permanent housing. For nearly 30 years, through aggressive street outreach and a welcoming environment, GMC has become a safe haven for those who are most in need.

Georgetown Ministry Center was kind enough to answer a few questions about their important work and how improving their web presence has helped support their mission.

What are some crucial programs that you’d like to highlight?
We work to end homelessness one person at a time by guiding our guests toward stability and housing. Just eight months ago a realistic housing goal was moving three to five people off the street each year. Now, because of a new Housing First imperative from the federal government and embraced by Washington, DC’s mayor, housing vouchers are rapidly becoming available. More than a dozen people we have worked with and advocated for have recently moved into housing, or are in the process of getting housing. To continue to help our guests benefit from this exciting progress, we work to consistently provide and improve essential services in our Day Center and during Street Outreach so that our case manager is able to meet with guests to assess their needs and work toward solutions. Once guests see us as a helpful and trustworthy resource, we can help set goals, address barriers to housing, and take full advantage of the Housing First opportunity.

Also, donations are needed for repairs to our shower facility in our Day Center. We hope to raise at least $10,000.

Where does most of your funding come from and where does it go?
We have a wide range of funding sources: private foundations, Georgetown congregations, individuals, local businesses, a government contract, and workplace giving campaigns including the United Way and the World Bank. We use these funds to run our Day Center, Medical Street Outreach, and Winter Shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness.

More than a dozen people we have worked with and advocated for have recently moved into housing, or are in the process of getting housing.

Do you have annual fund-raising events?
We have two fundraising events each year. In the spring, we work with Georgetown University to plan the Georgetown 5k Race Against Homelessness. Local businesses are invited to sponsor the event and participants both pay an entry fee and are encouraged to fund-raise on behalf of our organization. Our other fundraising event is called the Spirit of Georgetown. Every October friends and supporters gather for a cocktail party in a historic Georgetown home to celebrate our work. It is sort of a who’s who of Georgetown, a very affluent neighborhood in D.C.

Anything extra you’d like to add?
We will celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2017 and hope to repair our shower and better cultivate relationships with our supporters so we can make up a current funding deficit.

GMC on their web presence

With the help of 82 Birds, we improved our web presence immensely. People who visit our site can now learn about our various programs and services and have a good understanding of how they can help, volunteer and donate. We added a recurring donation option in the form of monthly giving clubs to our donation page. Our supporters responded really well to the idea and we received local media coverage too. This new option for online donations would not have been possible without 82 Birds help.

Georgetown Ministry Center is the perfect example of how addressing a complex social issue is possible with drive and dedication.

There are many ways to support Georgetown Ministry Center’s mission—from providing hot coffee every month, to helping them stock basics for their guests, and more.

Further reading about GMC:
The Washington Post:
Hats off to Gunther Stern for helping the homeless

The Washington Post:
In Georgetown, the homeless can be hidden amid the million-dollar homes

USA Today:
The Cost of Not Caring: Mental Disorders Keep Thousands of Homeless on the Streets

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