Helping the Homeless
Each and every day, Metropolitan lives into its vision of extending radical hospitality, transforming lives, and pursuing justice by serving its homeless neighbors and seeking adequate, affordable housing for all. For the past two decades, this calling has been the signature focus of its community engagement.
In the early 1990s, homelessness in the District of Columbia was reaching crisis proportions due to economic trends, the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, and inadequate government services. At that time, there were no shelters or homeless services in upper Northwest DC.
Metropolitan responded with a bold commitment to house the homeless in its own church buildings. St. Luke’s Shelter and Metropolitan House pioneered the small-shelter movement in Northwest Washington, modeling an effective congregation-based approach to homeless service which engages hundreds of church and community members in direct, person-to-person ministry with their unhoused neighbors. For the past twenty years, these two onsite shelters have provided stable, secure living environments that empower residents to move beyond homelessness towards self-sufficiency and permanent housing.
The scope of Metropolitan’s homeless ministry expanded dramatically in 2004 when the St. Luke’s campus became a host site for a city-run hypothermia shelter for men. The hypothermia shelter provides refuge for men living on the streets on nights when a “hypothermia alert” is declared (when actual or forecasted temperature, including wind chill, is 32° or below.) As many as 35 homeless men sleep at St. Luke’s each night when winter conditions prevail. The growing number of outreach ministries at St. Luke’s led to the creation of the St. Luke’s Mission Center on the Calvert Street campus.
In 2011, the executive offices of Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place moved to the St. Luke’s Mission Center, strengthening the longstanding partnership between the church and Friendship Place.
In 2012, St. Luke’s transitioned to a new operating model that has proven highly successful in moving more men toward independence in a shorter length of time. In 2016, Metropolitan House adopted a similar approach with a program for homeless women.
Additionally, Metropolitan has been at the forefront of efforts to advocate for more affordable housing and more supportive housing for the homeless. Working through the Washington Interfaith Network, Metropolitan helped Friendship Place receive city financing to launch a new "housing first" program that has moved 165 men and women off the streets and into their own homes.
If you are homeless and need shelter
All individuals residing at Metropolitan House and St. Luke’s Shelter come on referral from Friendship Place. If you are interested in becoming a resident at Metropolitan House or St. Luke’s House, or other congregation-based shelters, please contact Friendship Place at 4713 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016, Monday between 12:30pm to 4pm or Tuesday to Friday between 8:30am to 11:30am and 1pm to 3pm. Or you can phone CCH/FP at 202-364-1419. If you need shelter immediately, please contact the DC Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093. They will provide information on public shelters. If it is below 32 degrees, the District will provide transportation.