Since 1973, N Street Village has been “welcoming the stranger” by providing choices for homeless women and low-income families of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds in Washington, DC.

What began as a ministry outreach for Luther Place Memorial Church in Thomas Circle is now a $1.4 million nonprofit institution serving 700 homeless women a year. And the services have expanded to include about a dozen different houses and service centers throughout the city.

“Our goal, first and foremost, is to serve as a healing refuge for women,” said Pascale-Emmanuelle Nouama, N Street’s director of development.

Its main healing component is the Wellness Center, which emphasizes the women’s roles in their personal healing. The center provides services such as yoga, acupuncture, dance classes, women’s health, stress management, massage and many others to low-income women. There is also a dental and eye clinic for the women, and these and all others services are offered free to the women in N Street’s other programs.

N Street’s center for everyday basic need services is the Bethany Women’s Center, which is open every day of the year. This center provides meals, clothing, showers, mail, telephones and other services needed by homelessness people.

As for shelter and housing through N Street, Luther Place Night Shelter provides free shelter for up to 30 women. For women with addiction problems or mental illness, N Street has the Harriet Tubman House, the Sarah House, and the Sojourner Truth House. The family services N Street offers include the Eden House, which provides low-income rental housing to qualifying families, and the Early Childhood Development Center, which is a collaboration between N Street Village and United Planning Organization.

The Luther Place Memorial Church created N Street Village after the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and the de-institutionalization of the mentally ill. The mission of the project was to extend hospitality to all in a place that brings mutual blessing to both guests and hosts.

And Nouma said that the mission is still true today as N Street Villages tries to provide the basic skills and services necessary to give women hope and the ability to move out of or prevent homelessness.

“We want them to feel safe when they come to us. Of course, because our philosophy is not to put a Band-Aid on the problem,” Nouma said. “We want to go to the core of the problem and get them off of the streets so they are able to reclaim their lives.” N Street Village relies on the 1,500 volunteers a year who provide the backbone of the organization. Volunteer opportunities are available every day and at all times at all shelters. Particular needs are for overnight and dinner volunteers at Luther Place, and for people to help with lunch at Bethany’s women center.