It can often seem that news about DC General focuses on the many problems with the site and the city’s plan to close the homeless shelter. But this won’t happen for years. Until then, it will remain home to hundreds of families.
Many of those residents include children and teens who, like any child or teen, need a place to be a kid with other kids: a place to get away and to simply play. But these kids do not have such a place. They get access to common areas at DC General when they are not in use for other programs, but they have no dedicated place of their own. This is where the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project (HCPP) comes in.
HCPP is a local organization that seeks to to nurture healthy child development and reduce the effects of trauma among children living in temporary housing programs in Washington D.C. They believe that play is a human right that all children deserve, regardless of housing status. In the last 10 years, the organization’s volunteers have provided children at emergency and transitional housing sites with weekly activities and opportunities to play and learn, as all kids should be able to do.
HCPP has been holding programs at DC General for years and have wanted to provide the shelter’s kids with a space of their own for their programs. The organization spent years working through red tape and regulations to finally get permission to transform the old hospital’s waiting room into a bright and welcoming space where teens and preteens could meet for various programs, or simply access books, games, and computers.
With permission came the next step of obtaining funds and resources. Thanks to a donation from Frager’s, and a $30,000 grant from Lowe’s, and additional local support, the vision will now become a reality.
As for the design, local contractor, DC by Gabe, heard about the project and immediately volunteered to get involved. Knowing that the space would be temporary, Gabe worked to create a design that could be easily moved and reused in future spaces for the city’s homeless youth. You can read more about it and see pictures here.
The new space is currently in the process of being transformed, and should be completed for an October 21 ribbon cutting. Between now and then there are a number of opportunities for you to get involved in this great local project.
How To Get Involved
Volunteer Days will be held on October 10 and October 17. They are looking for people to do anything from painting to wood work to organizing. Sign up here.
Donations of items are always welcome, and the organization has set up an Amazon Wish List of their most-needed items.