UPO’s outreach workers continue to be the eyes and ears of the District, performing wellness checks throughout the city to protect the health of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. We distribute 200,000 life-sustaining items a year and feed people who need our help — Shelter Hotline has given out 146,000+ meals since the start of the pandemic.
We’re part of the city’s continuum of care so we pivot as needs change. The number of available shelter beds was cut in half during the pandemic (and has not yet been restored), so we expanded our capacity to respond to the increased need: We hired additional staff, added 4 new vehicles to our fleet, and made our operations more effective and efficient by adopting better ways to share real-time data.
Our dedicated, compassionate drivers bring people to social service appointments, meal programs, and shelters, where they receive healthcare and case management. UPO also handles emergencies: Shelter Hotline answers 96,000 calls for help a year. We see the difference that we make in the lives of people who live on our streets.
Now, with winter on the way, we kick into a higher gear (while keeping our safety measures in place). Our team of outreach workers, who are typically on the streets 18 hours a day, are patrolling the city 24-7 to check on people’s health. When the weather is the worst, we’re at our best: We help people to get out of the bitter cold and into warm beds.
UPO will deliver many life-sustaining items during hypothermia season, including 11,000+ blankets. We rely on partners to supply additional items. For example, this year Bombas doubled its support for UPO because its leaders believe in our vision. They donated a truckful of crates, filled with 10,000 pairs of white socks. Why only white ones? Because it’s easier for our outreach workers to see if someone has an infection or is bleeding — it will show through their sock.
Thank you for helping to protect our neighbors and build, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “a Beloved Community.”
UPO’s highly effective Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program is growing. We are hiring 2 additional case managers who will steadily add new customers — people who were homeless and can now move into permanent, stable housing.
Since UPO began our PSH program in 2019, we have consistently maintained a housing stability rate of 100%. This is the key measurement of our success because once people are stable, we help them build themselves up: They get the behavioral health counseling or substance abuse treatment they need; then they can get a job that launches a career.
UPO’s multi-faceted programs, including the Comprehensive Treatment Center and UPO Workforce Institute, are part of our wraparound services that help people thrive. We help them in the most effective ways: We value data, track our work closely, and modify our strategies based on the best practices in the field.
Our customers include 16 tenants (9 families and 7 individuals) at MDL Flats, a building developed by UPO’s partner TM Associates at 1550 1st St. SW. These apartments are for people who earn up to 30% of the area median income and are determined to improve their quality of life. (Note: This building was the first new affordable housing in SW in well over a decade, and UPO was one of the sparks that made it come to life.)
In UPO’s Scattered Sites program which includes homes across the District, PSH has moved 58 customers (24 families and 34 individuals) into permanent housing.
PSH is gearing up to move many more families into affordable housing in the next 18 months: For example, construction of MDXL Flats at 1530 1st St. SW, also being developed by TM Associates, will be completed in 2023 and ready for PSH tenants to move into their new, beautiful homes.
Thank you for being part of the constellation of donors who support this life-changing program by furnishing the homes of these families!
Please take a moment to feel how much it means to people to finally have a “Home Sweet Home” of their own.