Housing and Services for Women

Every day, House of Ruth provides housing and supportive services to 109 women at five residential programs located in Washington, DC. All were homeless and nearly all are survivors of domestic violence. Staff is on-site around the clock to assist the women and ensure their safety, while creating a warm, nurturing environment.

Each woman we work with was once a little girl who was neglected and horribly abused. All the terrible things that might happen to a child did happen to these women, and more. The neglect and abuse never stopped – until the women came here.

At Madison, New Beginnings and Unity, we provide service-enriched housing to a total of 85 women daily who are working toward safety, stability and self-sufficiency. The Case Managers work to establish strong, positive relationships with each woman. Based on these relationships, the women 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.

In the last few years, more women with serious mental illness have been coming to House of Ruth. For these women, an independent, self-sufficient life is an unrealistic, even dangerous, goal. They need daily, ongoing support in order to remain safe and to keep the symptoms of their mental illnesses under control. Without our help, these vulnerable women would quickly wind up on the street again, easy prey for abuse and violence.

In response, House of Ruth created New Pathways and Three Sisters to provide permanent supported housing to a total of 24 women who have serious mental illnesses. Three Sisters, our newest program for women, opened in November, 2009. It is located in an apartment building that was formerly occupied by five families whom we have moved to a larger site. Fourteen women now live there and get the continuing supportive services they need. All of the women have a very serious mental illness that impairs their capacity to sustain safety and stability on their own. At Three Sisters, they have the greatest possible independence, while continuing to get the ongoing support and services they need to help them sustain their safety and stability. There is no limit on the length of stay.

We also refurbished the Madison building, to provide more privacy and better spaces to work with the 50 women who are living there at any given time. Early in 2010 we began sorely needed renovations of the kitchens and bathrooms at New Beginnings and New Pathways. Unity, House of Ruth’s first home, located on Massachusetts Avenue, NW, got its facelift in 2009.

Your donations make a life-changing difference in the lives of women who had never known kindness and respect until they came to House of Ruth. Government funding to help these women is scarce, and we rely heavily on private support to fund our residential programs for them.

Much More than Housing

House of Ruth helps more than 1,000 women and children annually at 14 programs located throughout Washington, DC.

We provide safe housing and comprehensive supportive services to women and families who are homeless through 10 residential programs. Two programs bring our supportive services to formerly homeless families who live in rent-subsidized apartments.


Our child development center provides therapeutic interventions to help young children who are homeless to overcome developmental delays, while delivering supportive services to help their parents address the challenges in their lives. At our free counseling center, women and children find skilled therapists who can help them heal from domestic violence.

The women we serve are victims of domestic violence. If you look back into their histories, adult domestic violence is just the tip of the iceberg. The abuse began when they were young children.

Little girls who are abused don’t do well in school and they don’t do well in life without a lot of help. And that is what House of Ruth provides.

Part of the solution is in the safe, nurturing environments we provide. Another part is the comprehensive array of supportive services we make available to the women and their children. Most important of all is a skilled and caring staff who are dedicated to helping the women and children achieve safe and stable lives. At our 10 residences, staff is on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ensuring the safety of the women and families and providing constant support and encouragement.

And it works. Three-quarters of the women and families who come to House of Ruth’s transitional housing programs graduate to more independent permanent housing. More than 95% of the women and families in our permanent supported living programs stay with us year-to-year, ensuring their ongoing safety and stability despite the women’s serious mental illnesses.