The Changing Face of Homeless Services in Route One Corridor
Before there was a Mondloch House, an Eleanor U. Kennedy Shelter, a Route One Corridor Housing, or New Hope Housing, there was (and still is) a Route One Task Force for Human Services. In the mid-1970s, housing was the task force's top priority, and sheltering those who were homeless and living in run-down motels along the Route One corridor was the most critical need within that priority.
Years ago, as chair of the task force's subcommittee on sheltering, Ms. Eleanor Kennedy went before the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority and asked for $10,000 for a shelter. In Ms. Kennedy’s words, “Naturally, the commissioners wanted to know if I had a plan. The answer was ‘no,’ but I assumed by the time they gave the money we would have a plan. I guess they believed me because they gave us $9,000! In October 1977, we incorporated a new nonprofit agency, Route One Corridor Housing, Inc.”
Mondloch House ~ Then
Route One Corridor Housing’s first priority was to locate a shelter facility. Fortunately, a farmhouse was located that could be had for a mere $8,000 down with an option to purchase in 18 months for an additional $65,000. This was just the opportunity that the new nonprofit needed. Ms. Kennedy again made “the ask,” this time at her church the following Sunday. After service a young woman came up and said that she had just come into some money and would be willing to loan the $8,000. She wrote a check right on the spot, with the condition that her identity always remains anonymous.
In December 1978 the four-bedroom house was dedicated as the first shelter in Fairfax County, and it opened for use in January 1979. Later that year, the shelter was named in honor of Bob Mondloch, a founding task force member and its first treasurer, who died shortly after the shelter opened.
In 1983, Fairfax County built a second facility on the same site, which was named Mondloch II Shelter, in response to the growing need for family shelter. Eight years later a large addition was built using state and county funds. The expanded facility could serve 45 people plus infants, an average of 17 families every night.
In 1999 the original farmhouse was retired and replaced with a handicapped accessible, more functional facility to serve a changing population of vulnerable single homeless adults. This state-of-the-art facility, still called Mondloch House I, opened in April 2000.
After more than 20 years of continuous service, the Mondloch II building reached the end of its useful life. The building lacked accessibility and needed substantial rehabilitation.
In light of this need, along with consideration for the changing demographics of Fairfax County, a two-pronged plan was developed to continue to serve homeless families, while simultaneously increasing the stock of available, affordable housing. The plan will be implemented by New Hope Housing, Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and other community partners.
Mondloch House ~ Now
Prong I – Under the leadership of HCD, Mondloch II is being rehabilitated into The Residences at Mondloch, a building of 20 fully-furnished efficiency units. The rehabilitation, which is being constructed under existing zoning, will repurpose the space to serve homeless persons in rental housing with support services provided on-site. Residents will be required to pay 30 percent of their income in rent. These units have been designed for persons with disability or employment income that will not support market rents.
Prong II – New Hope Housing has designed and begun implementation of the
Next Steps Family Program. The program is an innovative new model for
serving families who experience homelessness by utilizing apartments
rather than a congregate living facility. The apartment model allows
families greater autonomy and provides staff an opportunity to assess
daily living skills such as cooking, budgeting, basic home maintenance
and parenting. The Next Steps Family Program (which maintains
existing shelter capacity) will enable families experiencing homelessness
to move more rapidly into permanent housing.
The pioneering strategy behind the development of the Next Steps Family Program is its use of tiered service levels that quickly identify and address barriers to housing, enabling the movement of families more rapidly into safe, appropriate and affordable permanent housing. By focusing first on housing and then on the supportive services that are necessary to maintain “housing first,” the Next Steps Family Program and The Residences at Mondloch move the community another step towards aligning and reaching the goals within the 10-Year Plan with resources that are readily available in the community.
Keep up-to-date on our community's progress toward ending homelessness by reading the monthly Partner Update.