Housing Opportunities Support Teams (HOST) provide flexible and adaptive services needed to help individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness obtain or maintain housing in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. In addition, as the human services regions across the county continue to move us forward with the 10-Year Plan, we will be sharing regional highlights to showcase the teams' efforts working with clients, partner organizations and the HOST system.
According to Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data:
In March 2014, 99 people who were homeless (16 families and 61 single adults) moved into permanent housing when exiting emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
In February 2014, 76 people who were homeless (10 families and 42 single adults) moved into permanent housing when exiting emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
In January 2014, 81 people who were homeless (17 families and 25 single adults) moved into permanent housing when exiting emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
|A new section of these wooden homes is painted each time a client is helped.|
Housing (covers Region 1) is “painting the town!” Inspired by the
Rapid Rehousing Challenge established last October through the National
Alliance to End Homelessness’ Learning Collaborative program, staff at
New Hope has continued to challenge themselves to think differently
about rapid rehousing. The Kennedy Shelter staff have helped 10
households move into permanent housing during the past month. Each time
someone moves into permanent housing, a section of a small wooden house
is painted by the staff member who helped the client. The result
is a beautifully painted wooden house and, more importantly, one less
person experiencing homelessness in Fairfax County!
Twenty-nine children experiencing homelessness will be provided with the opportunity to go to summer camp through the help of Fairfax County Parks and Recreation. While the coordination of such an undertaking (particularly with transportation) can be quite a challenge, participating staff feels it is worth it for these kids to have a fulfilling summer experience.
|Eagles Scout help beautify Bailey's Shelter front entrance.||First Baptist Church of Springfield joined staff and clients for Bailey's Beautification Day.|
Beautifying the Bailey's Crossroads Community – Over the course of the last quarter, Volunteers of America-Chesapeake/Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter (VOAC/BCCS) (covers Region 2) has organized two Beautification Days along with staff, residents and volunteers. During these events, many have joined together to clean up around the community and beautify the shelter. The next beautification event will be held on July 12 from 10 a.m. to noon. Individuals interested in volunteering are encouraged to contact Helen Holland, volunteer coordinator at the Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter.
Request for Hypothermia Sites – Each winter from December 1 through March 31, various faith communities throughout Fairfax County make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors by offering their faith venue as a hosting site for the Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program. This community effort preserves lives and limits injuries related to cold weather through a partnership of faith communities and local nonprofits. This past winter, VOAC-BCCS served over 300 single adults in the Hypothermia Prevention Program.
VOAC-BCCS is presently recruiting faith communities who are ready and willing to lend their time and venues to protect our homeless neighbors from the harsh and bitter elements of winter. The hypothermia program asks faith communities to provide shelter for up to 50 people for a week in length with a two-week maximum. VOAC provides shelter staff to manage the shelter, along with bedding and transportation assistance to and from the venue. We ask that the faith community provide a hot dinner and breakfast each evening; however this is not a requirement.
If you are interested in learning more about the program, or are willing to serve as a potential host for this upcoming season, please contact Jerrianne Anthony, clinical case coordinator with Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter.
- Kids participating in the RISE and off-site programs with Shelter House's Patrick Henry Family Shelter (covers Region 2 and 4) had the opportunity to learn more about what it's like to attend college through George Mason University's (GMU) Social Work program. The morning started with a light breakfast and introduction to the day (with entertainment!) and led into a walking tour of the campus. Each group had two guides that shared with the kids what college life was like. The guides shared the challenges, benefits and fun that can be experienced with continuing education. In addition, they toured a lived-in dorm room and got the opportunity to try on a cap and gown.
The tour ended with an all-you-can-eat lunch in the cafeteria. The food at GMU was equally amazing—from vegetarian to pasta, to breakfast all day. At the wrap up of the tour all the kids received certificates of completion and a thanks from the GMU team. The kids had tons of fun and want to return next year.
|Mr. Trent signing lease.|
|Sandara, current TRIUMPH II program participant at home.|
A Journey from Homelessness to Housing —
A little over a year ago, over 200 volunteers fanned across Fairfax
County to create a registry of everyone experiencing homelessness.
During the 100,000 Homes Fairfax: A Home for All Registry
Week, 462 individuals were surveyed with at least 107 identified as
extremely vulnerable. Mr. Trent, a fine example, was surveyed during
registry week and because of the support received from FACETS (covers Region 4), was
recently moved off the streets and into housing.
Trent, a 66-year-old veteran, first became homeless eight years ago when he wasn't able to keep up with his rent. Because of the unstable and chaotic nature of homelessness, he ended up losing his job and was staying in local shelters or sleeping on the street. To add to his difficulties, he has serious health conditions and was severely injured while sleeping outside. After working closely with his FACETS' case manager, Trent was accepted into an assisted living program and is now receiving the supportive living environment he needs. He now looks towards rebuilding his life and hopes to get back into nursing.
Partnerships with landlords like Susan have enabled FACETS to offer a helping hand to people working to overcome their battle with homelessness. "Everyone deserves a second chance," shared Susan when discussing why she was willing to partner with FACETS. Susan was familiar with FACETS' work in the community after a former friend received support services to get back on her feet. "It sounded like a good program and we felt we had nothing to lose by partnering with FACETS," she said. FACETS hopes more landlords and/or realtors will feel the same calling to provide a helping hand to people in need. These types of partnerships are key to preventing and ending homelessness and will lead to a stronger community.
Welcoming our Neighbors Home — Because of the tremendous community support received around the 100,000 Homes Fairfax campaign, FACETS kicked off the New Year with a new program entitled TRIUMPH II. This program was designed to house several of the individuals identified during the campaign as homeless and at risk of losing their life if they remained on the street. As a result, 18 people who were homeless now have their own apartments.
FACETS held a housewarming event on March 18 for the participants of their TRIUMPH II Supportive Housing Program. Guests had the opportunity to hear directly from Sandara, a current program participant, and to tour the TRIUMPH II program. Sandara shared how, because of FACETS, she has been able to achieve things she never thought possible. “Without the people in FACETS and the other organizations that are helping these people, honestly I wouldn’t be standing here right now,” shared Sandara.
After fleeing from an abusive spouse Sandara sought assistance at FACETS’ Hypothermia Prevention and Response Program. Suffering from mental and physical challenges, Sandara has difficulty in obtaining and maintaining employment. And with little or no income she was often forced to sleep in the woods, cemeteries or, if space was available, shelters. Desiring a life free from homelessness and harm, Sandara began working with the staff at FACETS to take steps towards becoming financially independent. Now a participant in the TRIUMPH II Supportive Housing program, Sandara is able to address her mental and physical ailments and looks forward to a brighter future.
Opening Doors Benefit Breakfast — On April 24, FACETS held its Annual Opening Doors Benefit Breakfast. The nearly 500 community members who were in attendance learned of FACETS’ mission, vision and the real impact of their work to prevent and end homelessness in Fairfax County. Guests heard from current and former clients, elected officials and the staff and Board at FACETS.
- It was before a sold-out crowd of more than 800 guests at the 23rd Annual Best of Reston Awards Gala on April 10 that Best of Reston Co-Chairs Karen Cleveland and Casey Veatch announced that a record-breaking $1,178,000 was raised in two years to help Cornerstones (covers Region 3) double its stock of affordable housing in Reston. Cornerstones' CEO, Kerrie Wilson, followed this news by announcing that with the funds, the 48-unit apartments at North Point will be added to Cornerstones’ stock of 53 affordable townhomes in Reston, Herndon and Centreville. The apartment units will provide permanent safe, attractive and affordable housing for individuals and working families who cannot afford high rents in Fairfax County. The apartments at North Point bring Cornerstones’ stock of affordable housing from 53 to a total of 101 units across northwestern Fairfax County.
It is especially important that the stock of affordable housing continues to grow in this critical time as the Metro's Silver Line arrives in Reston bringing new jobs and residents. The formal dedication of these homes will contribute to the overall goal of providing more affordable housing options for those in need. Current residents of the North Point Apartments and those coming to live there will have the security of knowing that their units will remain affordable into the future as there will be no displacement as the result of a sale and conversion of these units to market rate housing.