Community Corner: The impact of Thrive DC

Courtesy of

Ava Nicely

Without Thrive DC, over 250 homeless individuals in the DC community would struggle to find basic resources like meals, laundry, and showers every day. Located on Newton Street in Northwest Washington, the non-profit organization strives to prevent and end homelessness in the DC area by providing a variety of services to homeless and vulnerable people.

Thrive DC was founded in 1979 as the Dinner Program for Homeless Women (DPHW) in response to the first major wave of homelessness that hit Washington, DC. As the mission of the organization grew to encompass serving homeless men and children along with women, the name was changed from DPHW to Thrive DC in 2008. Currently, Thrive DC is the only provider of services for homeless people in Ward One and much of the surrounding area.

Each year, Thrive DC provides a wide range of aid and assistance to over 2,000 men, women, and children. Services include daily breakfast and dinner, showers, weekly emergency groceries, and laundry. In addition, Thrive DC offers support to clients to escape and prevent future homelessness through assistance in finding housing and employment, intensive job training, and legal help.

Gabriel Fabre plays a critical role in meeting Thrive DC’s goals as the Morning Program Coordinator and Substance Abuse Counselor. The first position is aimed at ensuring a comfortable and peaceful experience during the morning meal. “I coordinate that the customers eat quietly without arguing with anyone, that they enjoy their food while they socialize with others in a respectful way and without problems,” Fabre said.

Because addiction is a prevalent contributor to homelessness, Thrive DC offers counseling programs to help treat those with alcohol or drug problems. As part of the Substance Abuse Program, Fabre teaches psychoeducational classes. “I provide information about the positive and benefits of not using alcohol or drugs because of the consequences they know already. The addictions destroy people’s lives and most of them are homeless, have mental health problems, health problems, legal problems, employment problems and so on,” he said.

In its 39 years of service, Thrive DC has made a large impact on both the homeless people it provides assistance to and the broader community. The organization’s services have proved effective in restoring homeless people to a secure and stable life. “There are clients that have been on the street and now they are successful,” Fabre said.

Many opportunities exist for volunteers at Thrive DC, including serving breakfast and dinner to the homeless, providing groceries to hungry families, and helping clients to find employment. For more information to become a part of this incredible organization that changes lives, email [email protected]