Paula Buggage never expected to be homeless. She’d spent 16 years in corporate America, only returning to her childhood home in D.C. with her husband and two sons after getting the call her father was sick. But in a matter of months, her husband and father passed away suddenly and she lost everything. As a new widow without a job, money, or place to stay, Paula and her two sons moved into their car until she found friends who could take care of her sons. Paula was alone and homeless for the first time in her life. She arrived at the doors of N Street Village with her entire life belongings in a single bag.
Paula is just one of the many who find themselves at N Street Village, the largest provider for housing and services for homeless women in Washington, D.C. Today, N Street Village welcomes nearly 2,000 of the city’s most vulnerable women every year, and provides safe and supportive housing to more than 700 women and 51 families in five locations throughout the city.
On March 14, 2018, Paula, along with residents Karen Bell and Rita Lewis, were honored as just three of the countless women N Street Village has empowered during the organizations’ 45 years.
“Your support tonight is the last echo of a 45 year promise which remains vital and life-saving in our city,” said N Street Village CEO Schroeder Stribling. “We need each other. We all have something to give each other – material or not. There are many different currencies, but the math always checks out in compassion.”
Alongside a crowd of nearly 900, the night also recognized longtime Village supporters, Stu and Pat Van Scoyoc, who were proud to announce their investment to open The MARJ and MAK Vocational Center, named in honor of their mothers. The award was presented by Village alumna who had a long career and recently retired from Van Scoyoc Associates.
“Our commitment to the MARJ and MAK Center started with a dream for a center for women to learn the skills to re-enter the workforce. The dream of the MARJ and MAK Center is realized. Pat and I are excited about the 300 more women who will gain skills there,” said Stu Van Scoyoc.
Also in attendance were:
Special musical guest and twelve-time Grammy-nominated artist Ledisi performed “Pieces of Me” with the N Street Village and Luther Place Ambassadors of Praise to sing in unison the message that would carry through the evening: “I am a woman. Yes, I am a woman, these are the pieces of me!”
Overall, the evening raised a total of nearly $1.4 million, which will be used to ensure that the doors of N Street Village, which have been open 365 days a year for the past 45 years, remain open to any women in need. No matter what brings a woman to its doorstep—whether it be homelessness, mental illness, addiction, violence and abuse, health problems, unemployment, or some combination thereof—the Village will meet her right where she is and welcome her into a community of hospitality, healing, and hope.
N Street Village. 1333 N St NW, Washington, DC 20005. (202) 939-2076.
*Cover Photo: Twelve-time Grammy-nominated Artist Ledisi performed with the N Street Village and Luther Place Ambassadors of Praise. Photo Credit: Jenny LehmanPhotography.