It has been two years since Calvary Women’s Services launched a $3 million expansion project. Now a new shelter on Good Hope Road in Anacostia is helping women get back on their feet.

The facility is a three-story building that includes a full kitchen and dining room where breakfast and dinner are served daily. The bedrooms big enough for four women and include storage space for the women’s belongings.
Residents take part in writing, art, cooking and life-skills classes while moving toward self-sufficiency. One of the goals of Calvary Women’s Services is to help women find housing during the time they are settled in the shelter.

The progress they make is heartening to Calvary’s development director, Heather Liang. “It’s a real pleasure to know that the work I do makes a difference in women’s lives — providing a safe place to live, moreover making sure they have support, education and opportunities they need to move out of homelessness,” she said.

According to Executive Director Kristine Thompson, 45 women live in the shelter and are allowed to stay for six months. Though there is a waiting list to get into the shelter, Calvary Women’s Services serves 150 women or more each year, she added.

The organization partners with other nonprofits and agencies to help women apply for benefits and other assistance. The nonprofit also partners with DC Central Kitchen and Jubilee Jobs to help the women find employment.

“One of the joys of working at Calvary is watching women take control of their lives. Many times, we see the beginning stages of transition, then women make the next steps. Following women’s progress is not only satisfying, it reinforces that our determination to continue providing support is essential,” Program Director Robin Aycock said.

Much development has taken place on the Martin Luther King side of Anacostia during the construction of Calvary Women’s Services’ new home. While there were questions raised about their presence in a commercial neighborhood, the shelter has had a warm welcome since moving onto Good Hope Road.

“It’s exciting to see that there is continuing development in this neighborhood and that our investment in this neighborhood and in this building is hopefully of value as well,” Thompson said. She praised her staff and clinical team for the many gifts they bring to their work. And she spoke of the talents of the women who come to Calvary for help.

“I definitely don’t sew and I sadly don’t lead arts and crafts classes. I wish I could do those things but it’s not where my talents lie I’m afraid.” Thompson laughed. She then said that if she had to lead a class, it would be baking, starting with baking bread.

“I suspect there are women here better at baking than I am, so maybe we could all learn from each other.”