FAQ’s

Flickr: Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG

Flickr: Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG / Creative Commons

What is Access Housing, Inc. DC (AHI)?

AHI is a nonprofit, 501c3, community-based organization serving homeless veterans. AHI believes everyone, regardless of income or socioeconomic status, has a right to decent, safe and affordable housing.

Where is AHI?

AHI manages two facilities in Southeast Washington, DC. Our street addresses are 820 and 840 Chesapeake Street, SE, Washington, DC 20032.

When was Access Housing, Inc. DC Founded?

In the late 1970s, DC City Councilman H.R. Crawford received a call about evicting a camp of homeless individuals from under a bridge near Georgetown. Upon inspecting the site, Councilman Crawford was astonished by the ingenuity of this homeless community in applying their survival skills to provide an electrical supply for lighting and cooking. He was even invited to share a meal cooked on site.

During that memorable dinner, Councilman Crawford learned the primary population of the homeless community was comprised of veterans. These men and women were still at war, battling every day to survive homelessness. Councilman Crawford, himself of veteran of the Air Force, was moved by the visit, yet despite his admiration and compassion, he was unable to avert the agonizing task of evicting the men and women from their camp. The event did, however, provide the catalyst for the founding of Access Housing, Incorporated Southeast Veterans Service Center. H. R. Crawford’s vision was to create a haven for those who have served in our country’s armed forces by providing them with access to safe, decent, sanitary housing. Decades later, SEVSC continues to fulfill that mission.

What is the goal of AHI?

AHI’s goal is to empower veterans to find employment and stable, permanent housing in order to improve their quality of life.

What does AHI do?

AHI operates the Southeast Veterans Service Center and the Chesapeake Veterans House for homeless me and women veterans. The facilities feature 98 beds (20 Permanent SRO – Single Room Occupancy units and 78 transitional units). Each veteran has his or her own room with their own key.

The center offers residents a safe, clean and sober village-like setting for a duration of several months to one year, depending upon individual need. The program offers structured case management and mental health therapy. Accordingly, it addresses addiction, mental health issues, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, medical needs, family issues, housing, and employment training and placement. The goal is to nurture individual strength in order to guarantee future success. When veterans leave AHI, ideally they will have secured full-time employment and permanent housing. AHI’s case managers keep in touch with graduates to ensure their continued success after leaving the program.

What services does AHI offer?

AHI’s homes, the Southeast Veterans Service Center and the Chesapeake Veterans House, offer individual veterans:

  • Their own room
  • Warm, healthy meals
  • Case management services
  • Employment, housing, mental health, substance abuse, PTSD, and benefits counseling
  • Referrals for dentistry
  • Transportation services
  • On-site medial services
  • A barber shop / beauty salon
  • Access to a food pantry
  • Multiple recreation services
  • An on-site computer lab
  • And much, much more!

Who does AHI serve?

Access Housing, Inc. serves all veterans who have served since World War II. AHI’s veterans area cross section of America. Veterans from across the DC metro area reside at the center. Our veterans hail from all across the nation. AHI’s oldest Board member is 90+. He served on Omaha Beach during World War II. AHI’s youngest resident to date was just 18 and served in the Afghanistan War.

One of AHI’s Veterans has a Distinguished Service Award, others have been awarded the Purple Heart. Many of our veterans have served during conflicts. In fact, AHI has served veterans who have seen combat in all U.S. wars since World War II.

  • AHI’s oldest Board member is 90+. He served on Omaha Beach during World War II.
  • AHI’s youngest resident to date was just 18 and served in the Afghanistan War.
  • One of AHI’s Veterans has a Distinguished Service Award. He was homeless for 20 years before coming to AHI.
  • Another veteran, who recently graduated from the program and bought his first home, was awarded a Purple Heart for his services in the Vietnam War.

How many homeless veterans have been helped by AHI since its inception?

To date, thousands of veterans have successfully returned to civilian life after going through AHI’s program.

What is the goal of AHI?

AHI’s goal is to empower veterans to find employment and stable, permanent housing in order to improve their quality of life.

What makes AHI unique?

AHI was the first program of its kind in the greater DC area. AHI began providing services to homeless veterans in 1985.

AHI opened the SE Veterans Service Center in 1999 and the Chesapeake Veterans House in 2008.

AHI hosts the only Veterans Administration-run medical clinic on-site at AHI for use by its residents and for veterans from across the community.

Unlike many programs serving homeless veterans, each resident has their own room with their own key. Other programs house veterans with others where they share a bunk bed. AHI’s veterans tout having their own room and key as one of the best facets of the program. It goes a long way toward feeling independent and self-sufficient.

I know a homeless veteran who can benefit from AHI, what should I do?

Veterans are referred to AHI via the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Please contact them and ask for a referral to our program. You can also contact us directly and we can assist with the process. You can email any questions to gcrawford@accesshousingincdc.org.

AHI statistics for 2013:

  • One hundred percent of AHI’s veterans utilized the various services offered at AHI, helping move them forward to recovery and new opportunities.

  • Through AHI’s partnership with Easter Seals and other employment programs, AHI’s veterans are able to obtain jobs that were similar to what they did during their time in the service. The ideal method is to take their service skills and translate them into civilian life.

  • Over the past 1.5 years, 50 AHI veterans were discharged. Of this number, 16 veterans moved into permanent housing, 17 obtained employment and secured permanent housing. (Sadly, 17 veterans were not able to complete the program. These individuals were referred to other facilities that can better address their substance abuse issues.)

  • Out of the 33 veterans that successfully completed the program, moved into permanent housing, and became employed, we are proud to say 100 percent of the veterans have maintained their housing and employment.

  • The Veterans Administration’s Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, which operates a site at AHI, provides a stable source of healthcare for resident and non-resident veterans. An average of 80 veterans receive services from the program weekly. All of the veterans at AHI utilized the clinic at some point during the year.

  • The Veterans Administration’s Community-Based Outpatient Clinic is the only one in the District of Columbia. It has proved to an asset to the veterans who reside in our facilities and for veterans in the greater Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia communities.

  • In 2012, Access Housing began offering bi-weekly on-site meetings with a Benefits counselor who assists veterans with their claims. This program continues to be one of the most utilized offered at the center. Many veterans attribute their ability to move forward to the next steps in their lives to this added feature at AHI.

  • AHI’s Residential Care Inc. program provides mental health groups and one-on-one counseling to veterans who are dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD), traumatic brain Injury, substance abuse, and other mental health issues. This is another key program offered that has made a significant impact in the lives of AHI’s veterans.

AHI Awards & Recognition:

  • December 20, 2000, Certificate of Appreciation – Access Housing, Inc.(DC), Recognition of Support for Veterans/Industries Compensated Work Therapy at the Washington VA Medical Center, Compensated Work Therapy Program, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Washington, DC

  • November 28, 2001, Certificate of Appreciation –Access Housing, Inc.(DC), Circle of Friends for American Veterans

  • September 18, 2007, Certificate of Appreciation – Southeast Veterans Service Center, Providing Affordable Accessible Transitional Housing for Homeless Veterans, Health Care for Homeless Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Washington, DC

  • December 8, 2008, Certificate of Appreciation – Access Housing, Inc.(DC)

    Recognition and Appreciation for Efforts in Providing Services to Homeless Veterans, Secretary James B. Peake, M.D., Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Washington, DC

  • May 13, 2009, Certificate of Appreciation – Access Housing, Inc.(DC), Circle of Friends for American Veterans

  • May 20, 2010 Certificate of Appreciation – Chesapeake House, Special Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to the Care of Veterans Health Care for Homeless Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Washington, DC

  • May 20, 2010, Certificate of Appreciation – Southeast Veterans Service Center, Special Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to the Care of Veterans, Health Care for Homeless

    Veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Washington, DC

  • June 25, 2011, Rehabilitation Award of the Year – Access Housing, Inc.(DC), AMVETS Department of Washington

  • June 8, 2012, Calvin and Wilhelmina Rolark Community Founders Awards

    United Black Fund, Inc.

  • August 24, 2012, Certificate of Appreciation – Access Housing, Inc.(DC)

    Value Partner through Mayor Vincent Gray’s One City * One Initiative, DC Department of Employment Services

How can I get involved with AHI?

There are many ways to get involved with AHI to support homeless veterans.

  • You can VOLUNTEER: AHI welcomes volunteers to provide computer training, beauty/barber services, food pantry distribution/organization, foreign language courses, gardening, home cooked meals, dance classes, fitness instruction, and more.

  • You can DONATE: AHI welcomes cash donations, donations of non-perishable goods for its food pantry, hygiene items, blankets, socks, shoes, bottled water, gift cards to stores such as Safeway, Target, Home Depot, Giant, Metro cards movie gift certificates for recreational purposes, books/DVD’s, magazines, gaming consoles, computers, among other donations.

    AHI participates in local workplace giving campaigns: the Combined Federal Campaign, the DC One Fund, and United Way. We encourage individuals in companies who have workplace campaigns other than the above to consider designating AHI as well.

    This is just a sampling of ways to get involved. For more information on volunteering and donations,  please visit our volunteer information page or call (202) 561-VETS (8387)

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