So Others Might Eat

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In honor of Martin Luther King Day, First Lady Michelle Obama serves lunch in the dining room at So Others Might Eat, in Washington D. C., January 18, 2010

So Others Might Eat (SOME, So Others Might Eat) is a non-profit organization which seeks to help deal with poverty in Washington, D.C.. SOME provides food, clothing, and healthcare services to the poor and homeless. In addition, SOME provides job training, counselling, and low-cost housing, and other services to "break the cycle of homelessness".


SOME was founded in 1970, by Fr. Horace McKenna, SJ, as a soup kitchen. Meals were served in the basement of the St. Aloysius Church on the campus of Gonzaga College High School on North Capitol Street. As demand for food grew, SOME moved to 71 "O" Street were it remains today. In addition to the soup kitchen, SOME runs several other facilities throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area.

SOME offers support in the form of dental and medical care workers, activities coordinators in group homes, tutors, soup kitchen and food distribution, elderly outreach.[1]

In November 1970, SOME launched by moving from St. Aloysius Church to 1101 N. Capitol St and began serving hot meals. By July of the following year, SOME opened its first programme- a soup kitchen to feed the impoverished persons in DC. A few years later, the Substance Abuse Program was started in October 1975. The Substance Abuse Program includes individual and group counseling and vocational/job training. In 1978, SOME moved to 71 O Street, NW. That November, the Provide-A-Meal Program was initiated. The soup kitchen transitioned to a nutritional meal program serving breakfast and lunch daily. 52 churches, synagogues, businesses, and clubs prepared, brought, and served hot, well-balanced meals to 350 homeless individuals. Today, over 15,000 volunteers from various community groups and places of worship participate in this program serving an average of 850 meals a day. Almost a year later, in October 1979, SOME’s Dental Clinic was opened to provide dental care to the homeless and those unable to afford a dentist. The Georgetown University Dental School currently partners with SOME to provide care.


  • 1982 January – SOME’s Medical Clinic opens providing comprehensive health care for homeless and low-income persons.
  • 1984 May – Caregivers Program begins. Case management and volunteer services rae provided to the isolated homebound elderly persons in SE Washington.
  • 1985 October – Expansion of SOME’s Main Dining Room completed. The expanded Dining Room seats 155 persons and includes a waiting area for 75 persons.
  • 1986 January – Isaiah House opens, a therapeutic socialization residence for mentally ill, homeless persons, in a townhouse in NW Washington.
  • 1986 February – First transitional housing facility opens to assist homeless men to prepare to live in permanent housing in the community.
  • 1986 August – Dwelling Place Emergency Shelter for Abused Elderly is opened in SE.
  • 1989 July – Shalom House, SOME’s first Single Room Occupancy (SRO) residence, in NE Washington, opens its doors to 92 formerly homeless and low income men and women, including the elderly and the disabled. It offers a safe, secure, dignified home for its residents.
  • 1990 October – Mickey Leland Place, a second 90-day transitional housing program, opens for homeless men.
  • 1991 June – Exodus House, a 90-day residential substance abuse treatment program for homeless men, is opened on a 45-acre (180,000 m2) mountaintop plot in West Virginia. It is designed to provide a retreat from the urban environment that fostered homeless men’s addictions.
  • 1991 September – Thea Bowman House opens. It is a 10-unit, two-year transitional apartment house for women with children. Located in NE Washington, it serves not only the formerly homeless, but also those who currently occupy substandard dwellings.
  • 1992 July – Gandhi Place, house for long-term volunteers, is opened. Located in NE Washington, this former rooming house is home to lay volunteers who serve at SOME for periods ranging from one month to a year.
  • 1993 April – Anna Cooper House, the second of four SROs operated by SOME opens. It provides permanent, dignified housing to 50 formerly homeless men and women.
  • 1993 May – Jeremiah House, SOME’s third SRO opens. Like Anna Cooper House, Jeremiah House provides permanent housing to the homeless in an environment that fosters respect, dignity, and independent living.
  • 1994 Summer – Citizens about Real Empowerment (CARE) is founded by a group of Shalom House residents trying to preserve their local housing subsidies. With time, the group expands to all SOME SROs, and continues to advocate for safe neighborhoods, affordable housing, and fair policies in our community.
  • 1996 January – Maya Angelou House for women is dedicated on the grounds of 45 acres (180,000 m2) in West Virginia that were donated to SOME. The program provides a 90-day residential substance abuse treatment program for homeless women.
  • 1996 June – 60 O Street, NW opens. SOME renovates and opens a new facility for the homeless. This facility is at 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) building housing a new medical clinic with six exam rooms, a minor procedure room, x-ray clinic, a full eye clinic, a dental clinic and social service and addictions counseling offices. In addition, it houses administrative offices that are necessary for running SOME.
  • 1996 August – Harvest House Women’s Program opens as a 12-bed transitional housing/job readiness training program for homeless women.
  • 1997 May – Women and Children’s Dining Room on O Street is opened next to the Main Dining Room to better meet the needs of the growing number of homeless women and children.
  • 1998 June – SOME Center for Employment Training (CET) opens as an employment training program that will incorporate support services, human development, basic education, and skills training in a program lasting from four to six months. The goal is for adults to find full-time jobs with benefits, at a living wage.
  • 1998 September – SOME Townhouses at 68, 70, 74 and 76 O St, NW are opened for two-year transitional housing for formerly homeless families, as an extension of the Thea Bowman House program.
  • 2000 January – SOME’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS) opens with the goal of combining SOME’s addiction services with mental health and duel diagnosis treatment. BHS provides comprehensive interdisciplinary services, including: outreach services; intake and assessment; psychosocial evaluation and treatment; individual and group therapy; case management; addiction outpatient and residential treatment; and dual diagnosis services.
  • 2000 August – SOME’s Social Justice Program is created to increase community awareness and education of the interlaced social justice issue that affect poor and homeless individuals and families. The program provides on and off site workshops, presentations, education packets, and service learning opportunities.
  • 2002 April – Jim Kozuch Building is dedicated and opens for multi-program use. The new building affords beautiful improved space for Isaiah house, as well as for clothing and household goods, donations, the maintenance department, records storage, and office space.
  • 2002 October – Jordan House opens in the building vacated by Isaiah House. This new program provides a safe and structured alcohol/drug-free residence for homeless clients who are awaiting access to SOME’s residential treatment programs.
  • 2003 September – Leland Place annex project is completed by volunteer construction crews from Holy Trinity’s Hands on Housing. The expansion provides needed space for clients and counselors. Clients from Joshua House move into Leland Place in order to increase program efficiency.
  • 2004 January – Affordable Housing Development Initiative is launched. Through the initiative, SOME aims to develop 1,000 new units of safe, affordable housing to meets the needs of 2,000 homeless and extremely poor men, women, and children.
  • 2004 February – Harvest House Women’s Program moves into the space previously occupied by Joshua House.
  • 2005 March – Michael Kirwan House (which was donated to SOME) opens and houses the Jordan House “safe house” program. This program provides a safe and structured alcohol/drug-free residence for homeless clients who are awaiting access to SOME’s residential treatment programs.
  • 2005 April – Jordan House Crisis Stabilization Program opens. Jordan House’s new focus is a program that provides seven beds of residential supportive services to DC residents who are experiencing a psychiatric crisis. It provides comprehensive assessment, intensive individual counseling and case management support.
  • 2005 September – Independence Place opens and offers safe and dignified affordable permanent housing for 21 low income and formerly homeless families. SOME Place for Kids is also opened at the same location to provide nutrition, recreation, mentorship, and academic opportunities for the children of Independence Place.
  • 2005 October – Joseph Smith House opens.
  • 2006 May – Freedom House opens to become SOME’s fourth SRO, housing 30 single men and women. Like our other SROs, Freedom House provides permanent housing to formerly homeless men and women in an environment that fosters respect, dignity, and independent living.
  • 2006 September – Mary Claire House opens to provide safe transitional housing to 11 adults with chronic mental illness as they leave SOME’s Jordan House Crisis Stabilization Program.
  • 2006 December – Good Hope Road – SOME places a contract on a property to provide affordable housing to 45 seniors in SRO and efficiency units. It is expected to open in 2010.
  • 2007 March – Monsignor Ralph Kuehner House opens to provide transitional housing for six women enrolled as students at SOME’s Center for Employment Training.
  • 2007 April – Gasner House – SOME closes on a property on Texas Avenue in SE Washington which will provide 48 efficiency units for low income single adults.
  • 2007 April – Father Horace McKenna House opens in Winchester, Virginia, and provides affordable housing in the Oxford House model to 10 men recovering from addictions.
  • 2007 April – Bedford Falls – SOME closes on a property on 50th Street in SE Washington that will provide 76 single adults with affordable housing with supportive services
  • 2007 April – Chabraja House- SOME closes on a property on South Capitol Street in SE Washington that will provide affordable housing with supportive services to 51 single adults.
  • 2007 June – Barnaby House opens as an affordable family housing program in SE Washington which provides safe, service-enriched housing to 10 low income and formerly homeless families.
  • 2007 June – Chesapeake Street – SOME signs a contract to purchase two buildings that will provide 22 two- and three-bedroom apartments for families.
  • 2008 February – Zagami House opens as an affordable family housing program with supportive services for 12 formerly homeless and extremely low income families.


  1. ^ "So Others Might Eat (SOME)". Catholic Volunteer Network. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 

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