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Purpose Driven: N Street Village

Every Aura Cacia purchase helps women positively transform their lives through our Positive Change Project.


As part of the 2017 Positive Change Project donations, Aura Cacia gave $60,000 to N Street Village in Washington, D.C., to support the empowerment and recovery of homeless and low-income women. The non-profit organization provides comprehensive services addressing both emergency and long-term needs, helping nearly 2,000 women each year make life-changing gains in their housing, income, employment, mental health, physical health, and addiction recovery.


N Street Village was founded in 1972 by Luther Place Memorial Church out of concern for the well-being of poor and marginalized citizens living on the streets of D.C. The ad-hoc homeless outreach program has evolved over the years into a far-reaching organization that offers multi-faceted services. The program expanded significantly after 1995, moving to a renovated 150,000 square-foot building and opening a 51-unit affordable housing apartment complex, merging with Miriam's House in 2011, and opening two new locations in 2016.


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The programs at N Street Village have achieved outstanding results. Nearly 90 percent of residents in recovery maintain sobriety, compared to 35% nationally. Seventy-six percent of shelter residents exited to improved housing, compared to an average of 60% for other transitional housing programs in the District of Columbia. And 89% percent of N Street Village residents with mental illness maintained stable mental health, while the national average is 83%.


The Positive Change Project donations fund two specific N Street Village programs: Bethany Women's Center and the Leadership Council.


Bethany Women's Center is a drop-in program that offers women safety, support for basic needs, and access to resources and opportunities to help them move out of homelessness. The Center helps 80 to 120 women a day with a wide range of services, including mental health or medical emergency care, resource information, warm winter clothing, meals, showers, laundry, social activities, substance abuse treatment and employment training. It's open 365 days a year and is one of only two facilities serving meals to homeless women in the District of Columbia on Saturday and Sunday.


The goal of the Leadership Council is to provide 30 women each year with the skills they need to be leaders in their personal and work lives. Eighteen women (two elected representatives from each N Street Village program) serve on the Council, providing feedback on policies and programs, reviewing community member grievances and organizing community events.


The Council determines its own practices, rules and agenda and members manage the Council's time and budget. The Council is encouraged to provide feedback about N Street Village from their various perspectives. The women practice the social and assertiveness skills needed to reclaim their voices and lead more purposeful lives. Peer leaders such as Leadership Council members also facilitate and co-facilitate a number of N Street Village health education and recovery classes.


N Street Village provides the environment and resources that help determined women make positive changes to their lives.