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Kids-focused nonprofit to expand services to D.C.’s oldest domestic violence shelter

Curbed logo Curbed 10/9/2019 Andrew Giambrone
a close up of a sign © Homeless Children’s Playtime Project

The District’s oldest domestic violence shelter in January will begin hosting dedicated play programming for children living there, thanks to a new partnership between the D.C.-based Homeless Children’s Playtime Project and the organization that runs the shelter, My Sister’s Place. The shelter will be the Playtime Project’s fifth site where it provides trauma-informed activities for youth experiencing homelessness. The programming will happen twice a week.

“To ensure a strong program launch, Playtime seeks volunteers to help create a welcoming and fun play space where children can de-stress, work through their emotions, and simply be children,” the nonprofit says in a release. It is scheduled to hold an information session on volunteer opportunities at 6:30 p.m. October 16 at the Woodridge Neighborhood Library in Northeast. The four other sites where the Playtime Project also offers programming are the Quality Inn and the Days Inn hotels on New York Avenue NE, the Turning Point Center for Women and Children, and the domestic violence shelter operated by D.C. nonprofit DASH. (The city currently houses some homeless families in hotels used as overflow shelter space.)

The Playtime Project each week serves more than 150 children, between 6-months- and 12-years-old, providing toys, books, and games; its volunteers undergo training. Established in 2003, the organization hosted activities for years at the former D.C. General family homeless shelter, which closed last fall and is being replaced by smaller facilities spread across the city.

My Sister’s Place was founded in 1979 and does clinical counseling, case management, and advocacy. At the outset of this year, 815 families were counted as homeless in the District, a decline of 11.8 percent since 2018. They comprised over 2,600 residents, including children.

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