All posts by Linley Beckbridge

Doorways Selected by Amazon for Employee Match Campaign

Amazon employees can learn more about getting involved here.

Now through September, Amazon employee gifts to 20 select nonprofits matched one-to-one up to $5 million total

Arlington, VA – June 11, 2019 – Today, Amazon announced that the company is matching employee donations to 20 select charities that address housing and homelessness in its two headquarter regions, Arlington and Seattle, through September 30, 2019. Doorways is among the organizations selected to receive these donations and a portion of up to $5 million in one-for-one matching funds from Amazon. Amazon focuses on building long-term, innovative, and high impact programs, as well as programs that support immediate needs. Doorways’ comprehensive response includes emergency shelter, long-term housing and supportive services that ensure clients’ immediate safety and build long-term stability.

“Together with our employees, we will donate to nonprofits located in Washington State, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, whose missions support affordable housing and people experiencing homelessness,” said Jay Carney, SVP, Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon, in their press release. Furthermore, Amazon is committed to helping all children and young adults, especially those from underrepresented and underserved communities, have the resources and skills they need to build their best future.

“We are honored and grateful to be chosen by Amazon as a community partner addressing housing and homelessness,” said Caroline Jones, MSW, Doorways President and CEO. “We see tremendous opportunity and potential to fill a critical gap in our community for families and young people in particular.”

Over the course of the last five years, transition-aged youth—those ages 18 to 24—have been the fastest-growing population that Doorways serves. Youth now comprise 40% of adults living in Doorways’ Family Home shelter and HomeStart Supportive Housing Program. Some are still in school, and some are parenting children of their own. Recent groundbreaking research from Voices of Youth Count, an initiative of Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, found that 1 in 10 transition-aged youth experience homelessness each year. Chapin Hall found that youth with less than a high school diploma or GED had a 346 percent higher risk for homelessness; unmarried parenting youth had a 200 percent higher risk; and Black or African American youth had an 83 percent higher risk. As their research shows, early intervention is essential to preventing these youth from becoming trapped in cycles of poverty, homelessness and violence.

Doorways’ programs and services, including its innovative Pathways for Youth, impacted more than 4,100 adults, youth and children last year alone. Ninety-seven percent of residents in Doorways’ emergency shelters were people of color, and 97 percent were women. Sidney, a young woman of color, described Doorways as “a do-over, and a fresh start.” She became homeless before her senior year of high school. Her school guidance counselor connected her with Doorways, who welcomed her into the Family Home, where she lived throughout her senior year. While supporting her in school, Doorways also provided Sidney with the resources and skills she needed overcome the negative impacts of trauma and to build a brighter future, including helping her continue immediate and plan long-term educational goals and secure an apartment of her own after she graduated. Today, Doorways continues to support Sidney as she works toward additional education and career goals. Doorways is proud to share that Sidney has been stably housed for nearly two years.

For youth like Sidney, Doorways offers the only support of its kind in the community. There is no dedicated youth shelter in Arlington. Doorways has only one Youth Advocate dedicated to providing the essential, developmentally targeted supports that young people need. Through its Revive Domestic & Sexual Violence Counseling Program, Doorways provides Arlington’s only trauma-informed counseling for children, teens and adults who have experienced intimate partner abuse, which often occurs before, during and after homelessness. Doorways’ Children’s Services provides dedicated support for kids of all ages impacted by homelessness and domestic violence who are living in shelter or supportive housing.

“There is already a gap between the need and this community’s response,” said Jones, “and the need is only growing. I am so proud of what our team and our community has accomplished so far, yet there is so much more to be done. Joining forces with a partner like Amazon would be a game-changer for these youth and for generations to come.”

Amazon also announced a $3-million one-time gift to the Arlington Community Foundation. “Since 2000, Arlington County has lost nearly 90% of its market affordable housing stock. Amazon’s donation is a significant investment in our community and will support critical issues like housing affordability that are important to Northern Virginians,” said Jennifer Owens, the foundation’s President and CEO, in the release. Amazon chose to support the foundation “because of their work and progress on housing stability and helping families improve their quality of life,” said Carney. “We believe this gift can help offer additional housing and support services for our neighbors in need.”

“Together with Amazon and our partners, we can change homelessness in this community,” Jones said.

Doorways’ Youth Specialist named a “Connect with Kids Champion”

Carlyssa Winstead, Doorways’ Youth Specialist, was named a “Connect with Kids Champion” by the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families.

The Connect with Kids Champions award was created by Mary Ann Moran in 2004 as a way to recognize people in the community who go out of their way to develop positive, supportive relationships with youth and inspire others to do so. Learn more.

From Promise to Practice: Aligning Housing and Services to Support Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

by Caroline Jones, MSW, Doorways for Women and Families President and CEO

Historically, approaches to ending homelessness and those for ending IPV have operated, at best, in parallel. Despite evidence that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness among women, youth, and families and that abuse and its impacts continue long after survivors leave relationships, very few survivor-centered housing options exist. But this is beginning to change. Ending homelessness for families and youth is now a national priority. In response to this shift, several IPV providers have developed promising models for safely and stably housing survivors while ensuring survivors have the support and empowerment necessary to move forward after abuse. Continue reading on How Housing Matters.

“I Asked Him for My Clothes and My Phone”

The following are excerpts from Arlington Magazine. Read the entire piece here. Photo by Dixie Vereen.

“Doorways didn’t try to pathologize me. They saw and treated me as a human being who had experienced complex trauma. I was in a safe place knowing that I could finally tell the truth—all the truth—and not have it define the way I was treated or looked at. I can’t go back and change what’s happened to me, but I can choose to move forward with hope.”

Each survivor is paired with a personal advocate who can guide her or him through the entire medical examination—which is often an intensely emotional ordeal lasting several hours. Advocates are specially trained and provided for free by Doorways for Women and Families, an Arlington-based nonprofit that offers a safe haven and support system for people in crisis.

In 2015, Doorways became Arlington County’s consolidated resource for victims of sexual assault and their families, regardless of the victim’s age, gender or where the assault occurred. In each case, the nonprofit’s Revive program helps create a holistic plan that considers the victim’s personal safety, legal options, mental health counseling and financial support, if needed. These services are provided even if the person chooses not to take legal action.

Last year, Doorways helped more than 60 individuals through their hospital accompaniments. That’s up from 30 in 2017, and almost eight times the number of victims the nonprofit was able to help during its first official year in this role, says Doorways president and CEO Caroline Jones.

Some may be tempted to attribute the increase to an overall rise in sexual assaults, but police and hospital personnel say it’s more likely the result of coordinated efforts to reach victims—as well as greater awareness of what constitutes sexual assault and how to report it.

Since 2015, Doorways’ Revive program has provided short-term post-trauma sexual assault counseling for more than 400 individuals between the ages of 2 and 82.

It happens here. Sexual assault may not be talked about at soccer games and cocktail parties, but it is more prevalent than we think. Continue reading.

VA General Assembly commends Doorways on its 40th anniversary

SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 327
Offered January 25, 2019
Commending Doorways for Women and Families.

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Patrons– Favola, Barker, Black, Boysko, Carrico, Chafin, Chase, Cosgrove, Dance, Deeds, DeSteph, Dunnavant, Ebbin, Edwards, Hanger, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Mason, McClellan, McDougle, McPike, Newman, Norment, Obenshain, Peake, Petersen, Reeves, Ruff, Saslaw, Spruill, Stanley, Stuart, Sturtevant, Surovell, Vogel and Wagner

———-

WHEREAS, for 40 years, Doorways for Women and Families has provided safety and stability to members of the Arlington community suffering from homelessness, violence, or abuse; and

WHEREAS, established in 1978 as the Arlington Community Temporary Shelter, Doorways for Women and Families (Doorways) was the first emergency shelter for children and adults in Arlington County; and

WHEREAS, in its 40-year history, Doorways has grown to provide a range of life-saving and life-changing services that address the complex challenges of homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault with dignity, respect, and compassion; and

WHEREAS, as a public-private partnership, Doorways utilizes every resource available to strengthen the community and has helped people of all races, ages, genders, and income levels reduce the impact of traumatic events and build personal resiliency; and

WHEREAS, in 2017, Doorways provided emergency residential services to 253 adults and children, 96 percent of whom subsequently returned to safe housing; of the 138 children in the program, 87 percent were enrolled in a licensed daycare; and

WHEREAS, the Doorways Sexual and Domestic Violence Hotline responded to 2,390 calls, and members of Doorways accompanied and supported 60 survivors of abuse during hospital visits and forensic exams; and

WHEREAS, 407 survivors received trauma counseling through the Doorways Revive Domestic and Sexual Violence Counseling Program, with 95 percent of participants reporting a reduction of trauma symptoms, and 342 survivors seeking legal representation through the Doorways Court Advocacy Program; and

WHEREAS, Doorways has succeeded in its mission with the dedicated leadership of its board of directors, the hard work of its staff and volunteers, and the generosity of community partners and donors; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly hereby commend Doorways for Women and Families for its legacy of support to victims of homelessness, violence, or abuse on the occasion of its 40th anniversary; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the Senate prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to Doorways for Women and Families as an expression of the General Assembly’s admiration for the organization’s vital role in the Arlington community.

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Download a PDF of this resolution.

Download our latest newsletter and annual report

Thanks to our partner Deliver Strategies, a Doorways Corporate Ambassador, for producing this beautiful newsletter and report at no cost to Doorways. We appreciate your support!

In this newsletter, you’ll learn about:

  • The final stretch of the Campaign for Brighter Futures
  • 10 ways your child can get involved in the cause
  • Revive, our latest response to violence in our community
  • How to help a friend who has experienced sexual assault
  • And more, including partner spotlights and our latest annual report

Download Now

Doorways Awarded Top Rating from Charity Navigator

Local Nonprofit Celebrates Anniversary Year with Another 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator

Doorways’ strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the 10th time that Doorways has earned this top distinction in the last 10 years.

“Doorways’ exceptional four-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President and CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our four-star rating. This adds Doorways to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its four-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support Doorways.”

“This adds Doorways to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges.”

Using objective analysis, Charity Navigator awards only the most fiscally responsible organizations a four-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. On June 1, 2016, Charity Navigator upgraded its methodology for rating each charity’s financial health. These enhancements further substantiates the financial health of four-star charities.

“Receiving our tenth four-star rating during our 40th anniversary year is a testament to Doorways’ ongoing dedication to accountability, transparency and financial integrity,” said Caroline Jones, MSW, Doorways’ President and CEO. “Since 1978, our donors have given to support their neighbors in times of crisis and empower our clients to build futures free of homelessness and abuse. Doorways is proud and thankful to have earned our supporters’ respect, trust and confidence; we could not provide our life-changing programs and services without our donors’ financial investment in our clients’ safety and stability.”

“Doorways is proud and thankful to have earned our supporters’ respect, trust and confidence; we could not provide our life-changing programs and services without our donors’ financial investment in our clients.”

Doorways’ rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on www.charitynavigator.org.

Local Bars and Restaurants Raise Awareness of Sexual Assault

Businesses Call on Community to Create Change and Support Survivors

Arlington, VA – April 25, 2018 – For 40 years, Doorways has provided survivors in our community with immediate safety, comprehensive support and therapeutic services that ultimately lead to brighter futures. But they have not done it alone, nor can the organization continue to meet the growing need without the support of the Arlington community. There is a role for all of us in this response, Doorways says, including bars and restaurants.

April Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, and several local businesses are partnering with Doorways to raise awareness of the resources available for survivors. This weekend, these bars and restaurants will provide customers with coasters that feature Doorways’ 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881) and the message, “Sexual assault impacts everyone.” Participating businesses include The Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social, Liberty Barbeque, O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, and Freddie’s Beach Bar.

“It’s important to raise the awareness that sexual violence happens in our community, that we have a local response through Doorways, and that all of us have a role in supporting survivors,” said Stephen Fedorchak, owner of The Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social, and Liberty Barbeque. “This is beyond #MeToo or #TimesUp—survivors have stepped forward, and now it’s up to us to respond. We have to make a shift and create lasting change in our culture. That change starts with us. It happens here.”

This is beyond #MeToo or #TimesUp—survivors have stepped forward, and now it’s up to us to respond.

According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, someone experiences sexual assault every 98 seconds. In 2015, Doorways responded to an average of 3 survivor calls per day to their hotline; today, the organization receives 6 calls per day. Now in its second year of operating, Doorways’ Revive Domestic & Sexual Violence Program— which offers trauma-informed short-term counseling tailored to the needs of survivors seeking services due to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and/or stalking—will serve approximately 400 Arlington women, men, youth and children. While these statistics point to an increased willingness to share experiences and seek help, the stories behind the numbers point to an alarming rise in the rate of incidents in Arlington, affecting every demographic.

As Arlington County’s only comprehensive domestic and sexual violence program, in addition to the hotline and Revive, Doorways offers hospital accompaniment provided by a highly trained advocate for survivors who choose to seek medical attention; a bilingual (Spanish and English) Court Advocacy Program; and a Domestic Violence Safehouse.

While bars and restaurants are at the heart of this campaign, Doorways explains that the connection between sexual assault and alcohol is still widely misunderstood. “While perpetrators may use alcohol as a tool to incapacitate their victims, the only person to blame for assault is the one committing the violence. Someone who’s intoxicated cannot consent to sexual activity,” said Christa Carlton, director of Doorways’ Domestic & Sexual Violence Programs. “Sexual violence is never the victim’s fault. It’s on us to believe and support survivors, and never to blame them for what they’ve experienced.”

Sexual violence is never the victim’s fault. It’s on us to believe and support survivors.

As Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month comes to a close, Doorways remains available to survivors, their friends and family and our community all year round. Free and confidential crisis support, information and referrals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Doorways’ hotline at 703-237-0881. Anyone needing support is encouraged to call Doorways to talk about their situation or that of a loved one.

“Shed Your Coat” at Rocklands Arlington on May 3

Patio Officially Opens with 10th Annual Pig-and-Oyster Roast Benefiting Doorways

After this cool spring, Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company in Arlington invites neighbors and friends to come together to welcome warmer weather with a special anniversary celebration. On Thursday, May 3, from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m., Rocklands will officially kick off patio season with an evening of food and drink to benefit Doorways for Women and Families. Guests will mingle on the patio enjoying barbecued pork, fresh oysters roasted over a wood fire, and a selection of Rocklands’ signature sides. Rocklands will tap a keg from Right Proper Brewing Company just for the event and offer a selection of wine from the bar.

This year marks Rocklands’ 10th annual fundraising event for Doorways, as well as Doorways’ 40th anniversary. To celebrate these milestones, Rocklands aims to bring community members together to raise $10,000 to support youth and young families transitioning out of homelessness.

“This year, we have a special goal for this event. We are hoping to raise $10,000—a record for this event—to support young adults and families at Doorways as they transition out of homelessness into homes of their own,” said John Snedden, owner of Rocklands. “We are proud to help this vulnerable population achieve stability by investing in this critical step toward the bright future ahead.”

This year, we have a special goal for this event. We are hoping to raise $10,000—a record for this event—to support young adults and families at Doorways as they transition out of homelessness into homes of their own.

Along with the rest of the nation, Arlington County is disturbing trends for youth ages 16 to 24. Not only are young people the fastest growing segment of homeless population, but also the most at-risk group for first-time domestic and sexual violence. In Doorways’ Domestic Violence Safehouse and our Freddie Mac Foundation Family Home, these very young households now comprise 40 percent of clients. Doorways’ Pathways for Youth service model tailors the organization’s existing programs and services to meet the unique needs of youth and young families.

“Most of us just don’t know how many young people are living in unsafe and unstable conditions,” said Caroline Jones, MSW, Doorways’ President and CEO. “With and without children, some are still in high school, some are in violent relationships, and some simply have no safe place to live. By intervening early, we can begin to end the cycles of homelessness and abuse that impact so many young people in our community.”

Proceeds from Rocklands’ event will go directly to supporting young people as they transition from homelessness to safe, stable long-term supportive housing. Rocklands is donating all the food, beer and wine so 100 percent of the ticket price goes directly to Doorways. Tickets to the event are $35 (kids under 10 eat for free), and can be purchased online at www.DoorwaysVA.org/Rocklands2018 or at the door. Raffle tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. For $40, a special 40th anniversary ticket includes food, drink and two raffle tickets. Raffle prizes include gift certificates to local restaurants and shops and more.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our anniversary with Rocklands’ 10th annual ‘Shed Your Coat’ event,” said Jones. “It’s partnerships like this one that have made the last 40 years possible. Year after year, we are honored to be joined by so many of neighbors offering their support. On behalf of everyone at Doorways, we are so grateful for your investment in our clients’ futures and for your renewed commitment to our newest initiatives to help youth achieve stability.”

Doorways Advocate Speaks to Senate Subcommittee about Domestic Violence and the Military

C-SPAN / March 8, 2018 / “The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel held a hearing to discuss domestic violence and child abuse in military families. A panel of abuse survivors and an advocate testified about their legal, health care, and treatment experiences with the military, and made recommendations for what could be improved in order to better help survivors and prevent potential abuses. Also, a panel of clinical professionals and a Defense Department official discussed the issues from their perspectives. They also made recommendations as to where and by whom efforts could be made to address existing challenges and prevent future violence, abuse, and neglect.”

Iris Vega, an advocate with Doorways for Women and Families, spoke about the experiences of three survivors and made recommendations for improving our response to their needs. See her remarks just past the one-hour mark: