SILVER SPRING – Earlier this year, Donna Robinson was faced with grim news regarding a cherished endeavor – the homeless aid group she runs lost its long-term facility and risked turning the needy away.
Robinson, who was homeless as a young adult, is the founder and executive director of the House of Divine Guidance, an aid organization for homeless women and their children, which provides shelter, food, and job training.
For the past several years, HDG had operated its shelter services out of Sligo Adventist Church in Silver Spring, but due to renovations at the church, they were no longer able to use the facility and housed clients at a private residence in the area.
“We don’t like to turn people away, but that’s where we were headed,” Robinson said.
Frank Gillum, an active member of Good Hope Union United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, recently approached his church’s leadership to suggest that they assist HDG.
Good Hope Union has made arrangements to house HDG in their parsonage rent-free from March 1 through March 19 and is also leading fundraising efforts to help the group secure a permanent facility.
“We believe that this is what it means to be a church, to be the hands, feet, and body of Christ in the world,” said Good Hope Union Lead Pastor Stacy Cole Wilson. “God commands us to love our neighbors, and HDG are definitely our neighbors. We’re looking forward to this partnership and learning new things. There will be challenges, obviously, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Past clients of HDG praised Robinson and the organization for helping them achieve stability in their lives.
“When I was 18, I’d just had my second child, and I was out on the street because of domestic violence situation in my home,” said Chala Jones of Takoma Park. “Miss Donna didn’t know me or my children, but she took me in and was a mother figure to me. She worked with me very closely and helped me get my high school diploma. I just turned 20, and I’m now employed and living with my grandmother.”
Another past client, who asked not to have her real name printed and to be called Aisha, also praised Robinson’s efforts on her behalf.
“I lost my condominium after my job fired me because I have epilepsy,” Aisha said. “I was connected to Dr. Robinson through my caseworker at the first homeless shelter I stayed at. HDG was a very warm and welcoming place and they treated me very well. I cried the first night I spent there because I was so happy. Dr. Robinson helped me get into a transitional home, where I am now.”
Information about how to donate to the House of Divine Guidance is available via 240-888-0675 and online at www.houseofdivineguidance.org.