Laurie Pippenger and Eva-Elizabeth Chisholm visit the White House.

L’Arche Greater Washington, D.C.

Community Leader: Luke Smith
P.O. Box 21471
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 232-4539
Fax(202) 986-1492


Since 1983, L’Arche Greater Washington, DC, has provided safe housing, compassionate support services, and the opportunity for people with intellectual disabilities to become integrated into their neighborhoods. The organization was begun by a group of people who were inspired by the vision of Jean Vanier – the best way to reveal the gifts and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities is to create a caring community in which people with and without disabilities can share their lives.

The core people who live in L’Arche Greater Washington, D.C., homes are low-income residents of the Washington, DC area and a mixture of different backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities. Since the early 1980s, L’Arche has operated in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in response to the District of Columbia decision to close Forest Haven, the large city run institution for people with intellectual disabilities. Today, L’Arche has two homes in D.C. and two homes in Arlington, Virginia.

Facilitating mutual friendships and providing opportunities to belong is a major distinction of the L’Arche approach to service. The center of life at L’Arche is the mutual relationship between the core people and those who assist them.

Daily life at L’Arche has a normal rhythm that is set by the people with intellectual disabilities. They are at the core of each L’Arche community, which tries to respond to the fundamental needs of the human heart — home, fulfilling work, a chance to learn, participate, contribute and have fun.