Miriam’s Kitchen is a non-profit organization working to end homelessness in Washington, DC. Founded by the Western Presbyterian Church, Unity Church, and the George Washington University Hillel in 1983, the organization’s original purpose was simply to serve breakfast to people experiencing homelessness. Miriam’s Kitchen soon added case management and other services, with the goal of helping people find permanent housing.
In 2012, Miriam’s Kitchen (MK) set out to accomplish a significant new mission: ending homelessness in Washington, DC. Over the last five years veteran homelessness has declined 43% in Washington and chronic (long-term) homelessness has declined 17%. Miriam’s Kitchen offers its guests high-quality healthy meals, case management that connects clients to needed resources, advocacy for change through government programs, and housing options with support services that end the cycle of chronic homelessness. An estimated 4,000 individuals experiencing homelessness receive urgent services every year and more than 1,400 guests work closely with Miriam’s Kitchen to improve their quality of life.
Food is still a cornerstone of MK’s service to the community. Their kitchen serves approximately 300 meals a day, 76,000 meals annually. With the help of local farmers’ markets and grocery stores, each meal is made from scratch with fresh ingredients and costs less than 30 cents. The Permanent Supportive Housing program couples permanent housing with supportive services that target the specific needs of the individual.
The Peter G. Dodge Foundation awarded Miriam’s Kitchen a 2016 Mission Grant supporting case management services for clients who struggle with alcohol addiction, to help them obtain housing, mental health support, and substance abuse treatment. Miriam’s Kitchen offers case management services Monday through Friday, no matter the weather or holiday. Staffers work one-on-one with guests to help assess immediate and long-term needs and create strategies for accomplishing these goals. During the first ten months of this fiscal year, Miriam’s Kitchen has helped 120 people move into housing, connected 166 people with mental health services, helped 19 apply for and receive government benefits such as Social Security, and connected 230 with medical care.