Community Collaboration and Peer Leadership

Combatting homelessness and poverty requires a vast array of agencies, services and partnerships. Public-private partnerships are critical, as well. While these populations are served by a number of wonderful charities, churches and DC government agencies, there is a critical need for increased partnership, collaboration and advocacy to avoid duplication, mitigate gaps in service delivery and promote shared investments in the community.

As a long-standing leading voice against homelessness and poverty in DC, we are working to provide additional leadership, direction and connectedness among stakeholders. As such, we are engaging both DC government and our peers to “move-the-needle” on accessibility and coordination of services, and to better leverage resources and reduce duplication of efforts where they may be wasteful. Among churches and other faith-based institutions, we are catalyzing a movement for these groups to prioritize homelessness and local poverty among their ministry objectives.

The goal is to increase accessibility of services for helping people in need while creating more efficiency and impact.

Why This and Why Us?

Washington, DC, has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation. Despite the common misperception that all homeless people are either drug users, mentally ill or just not trying hard enough, the reality is that people from all walks of life fall victim to it — young, old, male, female, singles and families, educated, uneducated, black, white, brown and all ethnicities and nationalities. Homelessness and poverty painfully dehumanizes individuals and puts stress on our socio-economic systems. It is a problem that civil society must own.

The work of Central Union Mission and its strategic plan helps restore hope and dignity to these men, women and children, and helps us fulfill the Biblical calling to “love thy neighbor.” Moreover, the Mission’s work helps to create safer streets, reduce unemployment, and reduce expense on local government. The Mission stands as an indispensable partner for individuals, churches, corporations, government and foundations in our collective efforts to help those in need in our nation’s capital. Our strengths are found in the following:

Our Differentiators:

  • Focus on men, women, children, families, and senior citizens
  • More than 138 years of experience and expertise; the oldest private social service agency in Washington, DC
  • Comprehensive programmatic approach to well-being:  physical, mental, emotional, vocational, educational, spiritual, financial, familial, legal, et al
  • Proven impact: 300,000 bags of groceries and 62,000 bed nights of shelter each year
  • Proven success: over 65 percent of the Mission’s transformation program graduates are thriving
  • Well-established education, job training and job placement programs
  • Not simply a shelter: the Mission provide both a shelter and a food pantry bolstered with a full-spectrum of wraparound services for sustainable impact and change
  • Evidence-based programming and innovation geared toward long-term success of individuals
  • Adaptive to changing community and individual needs
  • Compelled by faith, but the Mission does not compel its faith on others; we serve anybody
  • Efficiency: Low administrative rate, leverage of $8 million in gifts-in-kind, extensive volunteer support and service-provider partnerships allow more funds to flow through to programming
  • We have been a trusted partner to tens of thousands of individuals, corporations, foundations and churches for over 100 years
  • Strong and experienced executive leadership
  • Focus on outcomes, not just outputs
  • 100 percent privately funded
  • Highly rated: GuideStar Gold, Charity Navigator 4-Star, ECFA, GreatNonprofits



Your Gift of $115 helps 60 people


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