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2022 Annual Report

2022 continued to see Washington, D.C. play the role it has since its inception - a nation's Capital City yet also a local city and an international one. Violence continued to be a tragic theme for the city in all of its roles - - from the war in Ukraine, to the ongoing tragedy of hundreds of deadly mass shootings across the country, to youth shooting youth in the city itself. Some 130 children in the city were victims of gun violence with over 15 losing their lives. Governors played politics with the lives of migrants, sending busloads to the city under false promises. Yet there continued to be glimmers of hope and renewal. The tide of war in Ukraine might possibly have turned, and the city saw an 11% decline in homicides from 2021 - 24 fewer persons lost their lives than in 2021.

It was in this context of challenging events - global, national and local - that the Downtown Cluster of Congregations sought to serve - to make Washington, D.C. a better Capital City for all.

Homeless Services Unit

Tragically 2022 saw deadly hate crime violence against the homeless here in Washington, D.C. In part because of this, the agency's Homeless Services Unit continued to try to reach the most vulnerable of the homeless - women, the elderly, and those suffering from mental illness. Staff was able to connect with over 165 homeless persons and families. Some 45% were women and 90% were minorities. Owing to the ongoing pandemic, staff continued to meet the homeless primarily in public areas, e.g., around parks and makeshift shelters - in doorways, on churches and large buildings-covered porticos.

The staff sought to meet the immediate, life-threatening needs facing the homeless - offering over 160 referrals for basic services such as shelter, food, showers, laundry, and clothing assistance. Over 140 persons were referred for medical care for physical and behavioral health needs. Over 70 referrals were made for emergency utility and rent assistance, almost 60 referrals were made for obtaining identification documents which are essential for all other services. In addition, over 60 referrals were made for either legal aid or immigration assistance.

The staff sought to help the homeless to meet the underlying causes of their situation, assisting with over 130 applications for benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, Social Security, Medicaid, and other federal and local benefits. During the year, 115 applications were successful and many others were still in process at years' end. Over 20 persons were assisted with job training or job placement referrals. Over 60 persons were helped in their efforts to find housing or avoid displacement. Over a dozen persons in abusive situations were assisted.

The purpose of the Unit's work is to meet life-threatening emergency needs, while seeking to break the cycle of homelessness by addressing underlying causes - to restore people and families back to lives of self-reliance and independent living.

Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF)

For over 30 years WACIF has leveraged the funds of investors - such as the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, a founding member of WACIF and its leading investor - to help develop affordable housing, daycare, and community-serving programs, and to encourage and expand small and minority-owned businesses. Since its inception, WACIF has provided over $60 million in loans, serving thousands of people and businesses and helping to create or retain some 25,000 jobs. In 2022 WACIF lent almost $2 million and leveraged another $7 million through its lending, aiding over 500 clients with advisory services and helping to retain or create almost 3,000 jobs.

Clean, Green and Safe Initiative

The Downtown Cluster of Congregations leads in making requests for services via 311 to help make neighborhoods safer. These are in addition to requests it makes to federal agencies for services (e.g., - National Park Service for care of its numerous parks and the US Postal Service for graffiti removal on postal boxes, etc.). Cluster staff made 24,000 requests for services impacting all corners of the city, including the planting of trees, repair of hazardous sidewalks, clearing of graffiti, removal of trash, and the identification of potentially vacant buildings. The Cluster requested the planting of more than a thousand trees as well as a similar number of requests for the pruning of hazardous dead limbs and the removal of dead trees. Over 200 hazardous sidewalk locations were reported for repair, along with requests for pedestrian striping of crosswalks and repair of curbs and potholes. Over 3,000 requests were made for graffiti removal. 800 requests were made with regards to illegal dumping and sanitation enforcement to help the city be cleaner and address its ongoing issue of rodent infestation in certain neighborhoods. The Cluster identified several thousand faded to illegible or missing signs for replacement that could impact safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and others.

Over 1,000 properties were reported to the city as possibly being vacant or blighted as such properties pose numerous safety hazards to immediate and nearby neighbors with the goal to have the buildings properly secured and hasten their return to use for housing or retail uses.

The Cluster continued its efforts to have street lights properly working - reporting more than 500 for repair. Too often violent crimes have occurred in the city on streets where street lights were out. The city at last has signed a contract to convert is streetlight system to a wireless system where outages can be identified almost immediately and repaired, in contrast to outages from its antiquated hardwired system.

Member Services and Community Issues

Safety continued to be a critical issue in 2022. Unfortunately there were over 200 homicide victims. Yet as tragic as this toll was, it was 11% less than in 2021. The Cluster's effort to continue to improve neighborhoods across the city was aimed at reducing the factors that add to the violence - seeking to have streetlights working, graffiti removed and vacant buildings secured.

The city's Office of the Attorney General reached a housing discrimination settlement resulting in the highest fine ever in the US for housing discrimination - $10 million. The Cluster's staff helped initiate the investigation some four years ago as a number of the persons served by its Homeless Services Unit faced numerous additional hurdles as they sought private housing. Staff assisted them in meeting with the Attorney General's office. In addition to the record fine, three firms were barred from doing business in the city.

The Cluster cosponsored with community groups candidate forums to help inform residents on the views of those candidates running for local office and to encourage residents to vote. The forums covered both the primaries and falls general election.

The Cluster cosponsored with the DC Baptist Convention a seminar designed to help members with their aging properties - "Redevelopment Potential for DC Congregations - Staying in the New DC." This program was aimed at assisting the many congregations in the city that have seen their membership dwindle and age, while they face ever increasing costs to maintain their historic worship facilities. The Cluster has helped a number of congregations re-purpose their properties to better accommodate modern worship and yet generate both new community services as well as generate new income. Such actions make it feasible for congregations to update their properties rather than selling them and moving out of the city.

The Cluster continued to provide information to the community on job and health fairs, racial equity efforts, and other priority issues for the residents and neighborhoods of the city.

Special Notices

The Executive Director Terry Lynch was re-nominated for a 3rd term to serve on the city's DC State Athletic Commission which has a charge to expand and improve athletic opportunities for the city's youth. He also continued to serve on the Foreign Government Owned Real Property Task Force and the Lead Poisoning Elimination and Healthy Homes Advisory Commission.

The Rev. Dr. James Terrell celebrated his 25th year of Pastoral Service at Second Baptist Church. The Rev. Lynn Bergfalk of The Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church celebrated his 50th year of ordained ministry.

Staff, Directors and Financial Reports

The staff consisted of Terrance Lynch, the Executive Director, who has now served the agency for over 35 years; Julie Turner is the Senior Outreach Worker having been with the agency for over 30 years.

The 2022 Officers were:

  • Daryl Branson - Shiloh Baptist Church.
  • Vice President: Chuck Hicks - Greater new Hope Baptist Church
  • Treasurer: Annesley Schmidt - Epiphany Episcopal Church
  • Secretary: Jean Grier, First Church of Christ, Scientist

A full listing of Directors is available upon request. The Downtown Cluster of Congregations is independently audited annually. Such audits are available upon request.


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