Written by Jubilee staff member Sahara Bulls
On October 31, Jubilee Housing hosted its 2nd annual Coming Home Breakfast at the Line Hotel in Washington, DC. Two hundred Jubilee supporters, donors, staff, and residents attended the hour long program. Jubilee’s Chief Operations Officer Bill Highsmith and Jubilee’s Board Chair Alex Orfinger were the masters of ceremonies for the morning, welcoming guests and opening the event.
The breakfast, which followed the Nationals winning the World Series late the night before, started with a coffee reception. Guests, many donning National’s gear, were in great spirits despite being tired.
As guests took their seats, Highsmith and Orfinger spoke about the great need for more deeply affordable housing in our city and that, despite significant commitment by the city and the region, we still need to do more. “It’s about realizing that we all don’t start at the same place, with the same privileges, but, recognizing that all are entitled to a quality of life,” Highsmith said. “That includes decent and safe housing and access to good schools, services, and transportation.”
Jubilee President and CEO Jim Knight spoke powerfully about the roots of housing discrimination in the Distirct, why affordable housing is imperative, and his own evolution as a non-profit leader and developer. He challenged guests to look at their own actions and ask themselves what they can do to make the city more equitable.
Nathaniel Bazemore, a former participant in Jubilee’s reentry program and current Jubilee resident, followed Knight and described how Jubilee provided him with a safe, nurturing place after he was released from incarceration. “This is not the finish; this is just the beginning,” he said as he talked about the ways in which he has turned his life around with the support of Jubilee’s reentry team.
During a light breakfast, guests watched a video about justice housing TM with commentary from Audrey Proctor, a former Jubilee resident and Board member, as well as Knight, Orfinger, and Highsmith.
The morning concluded with an invitation from Heather Raspberry, HAND Executive Director, to engage with Jubilee’s mission and contribute to building more justice housing in the District, so that families and individuals of all income levels have a place to call home. The breakfast raised over $130,000 in pledges to be fulfilled over the next three years.
To view the video from the event or contribute, please click here: https://www.jubileehousing.org/cominghome/.