My Sister’s Place (MSP) shelters, supports and empowers survivors of domestic violence and their children, while providing leadership and education to build a supportive community.

MSP is unique in offering a continuum of care from emergency shelter through transitional-to-permanent housing to clients. Our experienced team of case managers and residential counselors provides all clients with trauma-informed and client-centered care, including clinical counseling, case management, and comprehensive supportive services. Case managers work to address the trauma that clients have endured, while providing supportive services that lead to independence and self-sufficiency. Clients create their own self-directed goals with case managers in 1:1 case consultation, because we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery and stabilization. MSP also provides training and advocacy to engage communities and prevent violence and abuse.

For information on MSP’s programs and availability, call us at (202) 540-1064. Please note that programs and services are only available to clients in our emergency and transitional housing programs.

Housing Programs

Emergency Shelter Our 90-day emergency shelters, Sanctuary Plus and Sanctuary II, serve up to 21 families, and offer counseling, case management, and professional skills training.

Sanctuary Plus is our 9,000 square-foot facility which features 15 bedrooms, a family room, a children’s resource center, a secure playground, and a commercial kitchen with a full-time chef who cooks nutritious meals for families five days a week. The shelter’s dormitory-style design encourages a sense of community and support, and reminds families that they have others to lean on during this challenging time. Clients can stay at Sanctuary Plus for up to 90 days. Our shelter can fit up to 45 people and is almost always at full capacity.

Residents at Sanctuary Plus receive clinical case-management, art therapy, trauma informed care, and referrals to supportive services focused on addressing the unique challenges each family or individual faces. As in many domestic violence shelters, children comprise the largest population in MSP’s shelter. Sanctuary Plus provides children’s programming to help youth survivors safely express and heal from their trauma.

Sanctuary II, which opened in September 2022, is our second shelter for domestic violence survivors, offering shelter in six apartment-style units. Sanctuary II expanded our emergency shelter bed capacity by nearly 50% and provides an additional 18-20 survivors/survivor families per year with the safe shelter they urgently need. The building is newly renovated and accessible to community resources, good schools, and pertinent social services. Clients can stay up to 90 days, and receive case management, referrals to supportive services, and life-skills training.

Transitional-to-Permanent Housing Our transitional-to-permanent housing programs, RISE and RISE Plus, provide safe housing for 1 to 2 years for up to 90 families, along with case management, financial literacy resources, and supportive services.

MSP’s first transitional-to-permanent housing program, RISE (Reaching Independence through Survivor Empowerment), helps families fleeing from domestic violence move from crisis to safety and stability. RISE is a one-year program, and while participants are in the program, rent for their apartments is covered by My Sister’s Place. Our staff provides ongoing assistance, support, and referrals for other resources so clients can increase their stability and self-sufficiency, and plan for an independent future. RISE’s goal is to provide a foundation so that families are able to remain in their apartments after exiting the program, taking on their own rent. Launched in 2012, in its first year RISE served 5 families. Today RISE serves an average of 45 families a year.

RISE clients are also eligible for RISE Trust, our unconditional cash transfer program launched in January 2023. MSP currently provides regular unconditional monthly cash transfers to a select number of eligible RISE clients for up to 24 months, as funding allows, to help survivors set and meet financial goals for long-term self-sufficiency. Clients receive financial literacy education through our partner CAAB.

RISE Plus is our transitional-to-permanent housing program that extends rental support for up to two years. In RISE Plus, My Sister’s Place serves 45 families annually. Like in RISE, survivors in RISE Plus receive intensive case management and wraparound supportive services, including workforce development, empowerment coaching, art therapy, and other trauma-informed care.

RISE Plus includes a path to permanent housing model that allows clients to pay an increasing portion of their rent each month, so that at the end of the two years, they have taken on full payments and are largely self-sufficient. Families have the option to remain in their homes after exiting the program.

Family Rehousing and Stabilization Program (FRSP) MSP offers case management and supportive services to 150 families housed in FRSP transitional housing managed by the city.

MSP serves up to 150 families in the Family Rehousing and Stabilization Program (FRSP), providing clients with case management and supportive services. The families in this program reside in units in which they were approved by the Department of Human Services (DHS); all or portion of the rental payments are covered by DHS. Our Client Advocates and Case Managers offer clients similar services to those offered through our other housing programs, including access to workforce development workshops, addiction counseling, art therapy, and other support groups. This collaboration allows our trauma-informed team to provide care to survivors who otherwise would not be able to access supports that address their unique needs as survivors of domestic violence.

Supportive Services Available to Clients in our Housing Programs 

Our programming provides specialized support to children to help them develop healthy behaviors and relationships, including through reading hours, play groups, art therapy, and educational outings.

At My Sister’s Place, we view the children we serve as survivors too. Children who live in a home with domestic violence frequently suffer from trauma, even if they do not witness the abuse firsthand or are very young when the abuse happens. At our shelter, and in the community, MSP provides programs to support children and help them develop healthy behaviors and relationships.

For example, we host a regular Art Therapy Group facilitated by Restoring Ivy Collective, open to both our child and adult clients. Often lacking the ability to constructively express their feelings, children who have experienced trauma and witnessed violence may exhibit negative or aggressive behavior at school and at home. Exposure to this type of violence is also the greatest indicator that a child will grow up to find himself or herself in a violent relationship – as either the abuser or abused. Because of these odds, and because of our dedication to breaking generational cycles of violence, we devote significant resources to supporting our child survivors.

Moreover, our Volunteer Program facilitates regular children’s programming. Volunteers for Children’s Playtime dedicate time during weekdays with our children in the playroom, engaging in intentional free play activities, while our adult clients spend time in group sessions meeting with case managers, etc. Sessions include pre-planned group activities such as art, games, puzzles, outdoor play, and more. Volunteers for our Reading Program help children gain lifelong literacy skills to empower their learning, through reading books and assisting with homework. Visit our Volunteer page to learn how you can be involved.

Fresh Start Fund – The Fresh Start Fund provides clients in our housing programs with financial support for emergency expenses that may destabilize their ability to remain safely housed, and for eligible educational and employment training expenses that support their path to self-sufficiency.

Financial abuse is a major barrier to the women we serve gaining independence and safety for themselves and their children. For most of our clients who largely live paycheck to paycheck, an unexpectedly high bill or an unforeseen expense is both extremely stressful and damaging. In worse cast scenarios, if they aren’t able to cover these expenses, they may be forced to leave safe housing and return to their abusers.

The Fresh Start Fund provides clients in our housing programs with financial support for emergency expenses that may destabilize their ability to remain safely housed, and for eligible educational and employment training expenses that support their path to self-sufficiency. When needs arise, Case Managers first direct clients to community resources to encourage self-sufficiency; when community resources and supports are unavailable, Case Managers request support for clients through the Fresh Start Fund, for approval from our Director of Programs.

If you would like to contribute specifically to the Fresh Start Fund, please click on our donate link and choose to allocate your donation to the Fresh Start Fund.

Aftercare – Clients exiting our housing programs receive ongoing aftercare support with case-management staff, who provide services and referrals as needed. 

At My Sister’s Place, we believe that our clients benefit from ongoing contact with our case-management staff to support them in their independence, including counseling, referrals to community-based services, and advocacy. Our goal is to provide active outreach and assist clients in building long-term supportive systems within their communities, to reduce the likelihood of future victimization. By keeping in contact with our clients after they have completed our residential programs, we let them know that they are cared for and have people to call on when they need assistance or support.

MSP’s Workforce Development Program offers clients continuous in-house training, development and wrap around services to improve the overall employability, career advancement, and well-being of MSP’s clients. MSP provides training, education, and development opportunities, including industry-recognized certifications; pre-employment training; connection to apprenticeships programs; training services to incumbent workers and on-the-job and workplace training; and employment retention services, such as transportation, childcare assistance, and mentoring programs.

Community Outreach & Education

Trainings, events, literature & more to raise awareness and encourage community engagement

Eradicating domestic violence requires a coordinated community response that embraces both prevention and intervention. My Sister’s Place partners with law enforcement, members of the legal community, clergy, and others to ensure that service providers and community members are equipped to appropriately respond to survivors’ needs. We also provide community education through our monthly newsletter – click here to sign up.

We are committed to responding to our community’s diversity and evolving needs. We understand that beyond language barriers, addressing domestic violence in the Latinx community (and other immigrant communities) requires cultural competency. We have a Bilingual Advocate on staff specifically focused on assisting the Latinx community, and our website is accessible in a variety of languages through our Google translate plug-in. We also table at community resource clinics, including with our partner DCVLP, to make our information broadly accessible to immigrant communities.

To learn more about our community partnerships, visit Our Partners page.

Have questions about our programs? Call 202-540-1064 to learn more about our services.