By Christy Ulmet
After temporary move, the newly-renovated Virginia Williams Family Resource Center (VWFRC) has reopened at 920 Rhode Island Avenue, and this time it’s here to stay, city officials say.
The center marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 7. DC Mayor Vincent Gray, representatives from the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) and families seeking services at the center were among those in attendance.
The renovation work was prompted by the Homeless Services Integration Initiative, a project intended to expand VWFRC into a one-stop shop for families coping with homelessness, housing instability and other challenges associated with poverty.
“What we realized was that in order to expand it, we needed a larger location, said Deborah Carroll, Interim Director of the DHS.
“Rather than change the location of the intake center, we took the opportunity to lever some space in the back of the building. We negotiated a new lease and put in a renovation plan designed to meet our new programmatic design concept.”
In the newly-renovated center, those in need of help can apply for shelter and rental assistance as well as sign up for a range of other services and programs including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps and Medicaid. Each family will be assigned a team, which will consist of a homeless services specialist and a vocational development specialist with a goal of helping clients avoid or overcome homelessness and move toward self-sufficiency.
Phyllis Caston-Morgan, a customer of the Center since January of this year, spoke at the ceremony about what the VWFRC has meant to her and her son, William.
The VWFRC has provided assistance in finding permanent housing, clothing, food, travel and any other needs Caston-Morgan and her son have encountered, she said.
Caston-Morgan said she is excited for the future of the VWFRC.
“I hope the Center keeps on progressing the way it is, because it’s very helpful for children and single mothers and fathers. I really love the Center a lot,” Caston-Morgan said.
If you are in need of housing or the social services offered by the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center, contact them at 202-526-0017 or visit their location at 920 Rhode Island Avenue, NE Washington, D.C. The Center is accessible from the Rhode Island Metrorail station via the Red Line or the G8 Metro bus.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 8 edition of Street Sense.