The Mary House Housing Program

Washington DC has the highest per capita rate of homelessness in the country, with more than 15,000 people experiencing homelessness over the course of a typical year. The number of homeless families in DC increased by 103% between 2009 and 2017 and is continuing to grow. DC is the second least affordable housing jurisdiction in the country with a deficit of 27,737 affordable and available housing units for people who are extremely low income. There are currently 41,000 households on the wait list for the DC Housing Authority’s Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs and the wait time can be up to 20 years.

Mary House’s primary focus is its housing program. We serve up to 50 immigrant and refugee families by providing transitional housing for those in crisis. Over the course of 35 years, Mary House has provided housing thousands of families. While we primarly serve Central American families, we have had the opportunity to serve families from at least 20 other countries across the world. We serve a diverse group of families, from single mothers to grandparents and grandchildren. What binds the program is that all families share the desire to become the strongest parents possible and to provide a safe and secure environment for their children.

Each family works with a Mary House family advocate towards achieving certain goals during their time with us. Whether its looking to secure stable employment, pursue an education or address medical issues, our families are provided with a network of support that is dedicated to ensuring their needs are met.

The Mary House Food Program

In the capital area, 700,000 residents are at risk of hunger. Over 11% of the District is characterized as a food desert, meaning there is a lack of access to affordable and healthy food within a half mile of the area. While food deserts are present throughout the city, the highest concentration is in low-income neighborhoods where residents are already most vulnerable to facing hunger.
Too often, families have to make difficult choices about buying food, paying rent, or providing medical care for their children. Fortunately, Mary House offers a monthly food pantry providing basic ingredients and produce to our families at no cost. Additionally, we give out weekend bags as a supplemental food program for children in our after school program.

The Mary House After School Program

Mary House has run its free After School Tutoring and Mentor Program since 1997. Serving up to thirty elementary-aged students at a time, we have a strong partnership with schools in the neighborhood that allows us to pick the children up from school and walk them to our site. Many of the students we work with live in homes where English is not spoken primarily, so we work with children to improve their reading, writing and comprehension skills.
We aim to provide a safe and nurturing environment where kids complete their homework, have access to help from tutors, and receive mentoring from DC high school and college volunteers.

The Mary House Kids' Closet

The Kids’ Closet is a space where Mary House families can exchange their children’s clothes for new and lightly used items once a month. The Kids’ Closet contains children’s clothes for kids of all ages, from newborns to teenagers. It also has a smaller selection of adult clothing for parents to browse. While its focus is clothing, The Kids’ Closet also accepts linens, towels, and accessories. Donations of basic toiletries and other small home goods are also often put out for families.

All Mary House families can attend the Kids’ Closet. Non-Mary House families must contact Mary House in order to get a voucher to attend. All families must contact Mary House if they wish to enter Kids’ Closet on unscheduled days.  

Families are encouraged to bring a bag of washed, lightly used clothes to donate to the Kids’ Closet to help create a self-sustaining program. In exchange, families are allowed approximately one large bag of clothing. Depending on the number of children or need in the family, an additional bag may be taken.Our model helps keep our closet sustainable and allows families to reuse and recycle Mary House resources to facilitate sharing between mothers. However, Mary House regularly receives clothes donations from a variety of outside sources. 

​We’d like to thank Dress for Success, Women Giving Back, and We Live for their donations to Mary House.

The Mary House Summer Camp

The Mary House Summer Camp is a six week, full-day summer camp for kids who live at Mary House or are involved in our after school program. Our staff organizes different themes, games, and activities each week to provide an engaging, enriching summer camp experience.This year's summer camp will run from the end of June to the end of July.
We are always looking for donations and volunteers so we can provide a fun and educational experience for the kids in our program. If you would like to volunteer your time or donate supplies please fill out our Volunteer Interest Form or call at (202) 780-5137.