2012 Partnership Highlights Archive


 Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness is a broad coalition of nonprofits, faith-based communities, philanthropic organizations, businesses, health care organizations, public safety and government agencies, schools and individuals.

November 14

1,000 Homes for 1,000 Virginians
As mentioned in the August edition of Partner Update, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness is participating in the national 100,000 Homes and statewide 1,000 Homes for 1,000 Virginians campaigns. This impressive movement brings together successful strategies from across the country in housing the most vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals. Already, 170 communities are participating in the national campaign and over 21,000 people have been housed.

A vital step in the 100,000 Homes model is called "Clarifying the Demand." In the words of the national campaign, "We cannot end homelessness in the abstract." Every vulnerable, chronically homeless individual's specific housing and service needs must be considered. To this end, every community in the campaign conducts what is called a "Registry Week" during which teams of trained staff and volunteers survey the homeless population. Specific physical and mental health issues have been shown in research to indicate increased risk of mortality while on the streets. Through the survey, those individuals with the highest indicators of vulnerability are prioritized for housing, preventing lives from being unnecessarily lost on the streets.

The Fairfax-Falls Church Registry Week is scheduled to begin on Feb. 24, 2013. Check out future editions of Partner Update for more information on how you can volunteer and help end homelessness in our community. For general questions about the campaign, please contact Debbie Scaggs or Tom Barnett.

Fifty dollar bills shaped into a house.

HUD CoC Homeless Assistance Grant Process is Underway
On Nov. 9, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the annual HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance grant process. The application this year is being prepared under the new consolidated Continuum of Care program as part of the implementation of the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act passed in 2009. Supportive Housing Program and Shelter Plus Care programs are consolidated into one process and funding stream. The community process and all grant projects must be completed and submitted online to HUD before Jan. 18, 2013. However, the NOFA requires that project applications be submitted for review by the CoC at least 30 days in advance. This year, HUD is reinstating the requirement to rank all new and renewal projects submitted as part of the application.

Threshold reviews of existing grants due for one-year renewals in 2013 have been completed. The Fairfax-Falls Church CoC application will include 27 renewal projects for one-year funding totaling $6,436,919. The CoC will also have up to $289,790 available for a potential new project that meets local and HUD selection criteria to provide permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals or families. The CoC Committee of the Governing Board of the Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness will hear presentations from interested potential applicants and select one or more proposals to be submitted to HUD. Selection will be based on criteria established by the CoC Committee, including the anticipated viability of the proposal and the proposal's ability to maximize the production of units to meet housing targets for 2014. Any organization interested in this opportunity should immediately contact the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness at the emails listed below.  

The CoC program rule implements the HEARTH Act provisions to implement the new Continuum of Care program. There are numerous other changes in grant requirements, including a standard 25 percent match, increased emphasis on permanent housing and performance indicators and new requirements for the CoC structure that will be addressed by the Governing Board of the Community Partnership and the CoC community in the coming months. The application process is accelerated with project applications due by mid-December. Specific HUD application scoring and project ranking criteria are outlined at HUD’s CoC Program NOFA. Potential applicants should review the NOFA to be familiar with HUD requirements. For additional information on the local process, contact Bill Macmillan or Julie Maltzman.

October 17

Thoughts and Perspectives from CAC Members
As reported in previous updates, the Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) was launched in May 2012 as one of five critical elements for the 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. Council members bring different perspectives and their own sets of homeless experiences to the council’s discussions, and together they serve as a collective voice for the local homeless community. In addition, the CAC brings new ideas and new ways of thinking to the Community Partnership.

The CAC is approaching its six month anniversary and it has spent a great deal of time studying the 10-Year Plan and sharing ideas for success in achieving the goal to end homelessness in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. Read about some thoughts and perspectives recently shared by some of the council members:

It is great to be able to see so much progress in the housing community, particularly with regards to the victims of domestic violence who are homeless. Housing is top priority and offers a hand up, and not a hand out. ~ Mattie Palmore

Affordable housing is where we must make a real solution happen for a new definition of success. Safety, happiness and welfare are fundamental rights of everyone and only with a safe and affordable place to live are these rights truly realized for all. ~ Keith Bender

Many people have the opportunity to help the homeless on an individual or small-group level, and that’s a wonderful thing. But I've been given the opportunity to make a meaningful difference on a much larger scale in an area very dear to me, and that’s indeed an honor and a blessing. ~ Jeff Lisanick

I'm extremely humbled and honored to have been selected as a participating member of the council and I'm enjoying the work we're doing with the staff. I think it's so important to have a body of folks who've ‘been there and done that’ to give some insight on this wonderful goal. I feel our past experience of being homeless will help make a huge difference in other's lives. It's important for all our citizens to make sure good, solid systems are put in place to keep anyone from ending up on the streets in the future. ~ Peaches Pearson

The CAC has direct involvement in upcoming policy and fundraising discussions and initiatives, including the 100,000 Homes Campaign, Jeans Day and shelter intake and access redesign for homeless programs and services for single individuals. Please contact Tom Barnett or Amanda McGill for more information about the CAC.

Image of jeans day 2012 graphic, denim pocket.

Save the Date: Jeans Day Dec. 14
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and Connection Newspapers partner to present the Second Annual Jeans Day to Put the ZIP on Homelessness on Dec.14. Please download the Jeans Day flyer  and distribute.

In the spirit of highlighting and fighting homelessness, public and private employers, civic and faith organizations and other organizations across Northern Virginia will be encouraging employees, students and members to wear jeans in exchange for a $5 donation to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. At last year's Jeans Day event over 100 employers representing over 3,000 employees participated. Our goal is to increase that number and Put the ZIP on Homelessness by wearing jeans to work, school, meetings and faith communities.

In addition, there will be a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Jeans Day 2012 Proclamation to kick-off the event on Oct. 30 starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Board Auditorium at the Fairfax County Government Center. For more information on this exciting event, contact Glynda Mayo Hall.

HUD Continuum of Care Process Started
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the annual Continuum of Care (CoC) grant application process may begin in mid- to late October. The Fairfax-Falls Church CoC is registered to participate in the application, and the local process to review the renewal projects has already begun.

A total of over $6.4 million in HUD funds is included in 27 renewal projects that will be part of the application. A preliminary amount of $289,790 is identified for a possible new, bonus project. However, it is not clear yet whether there will actually be an opportunity to apply for a new project, which may depend on the amount of funding HUD has available nationally. The process this year is later than in previous years since HUD is implementing it under the Interim CoC Program rule published on July 31, 2012, and effective Aug. 30. The CoC Program rule implements the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act provisions to consolidate the former Supportive Housing Program, Shelter Plus Care and Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Mod Rehab program into one funding stream.

There are numerous other changes in grant requirements, including a standard 25 percent match, and new requirements about the CoC structure that will be addressed by the Governing Board of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership on homelessness and the CoC community in the coming months. For more information, contact Bill Macmillan.

September 12 - 10-Year Plan Update

August 8

Joining 100,000 Homes Campaign
Over the past year, the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH) and others in our community have had the opportunity to hear a presentation on the 100,000 Homes Campaign. This campaign is a national movement of communities working together to find permanent homes for 100,000 of the country’s most vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families. The Fairfax-Falls Church community has been invited to participate in this campaign, providing us with another collaborative opportunity that helps us achieve our 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. Our community is ready to be a part of this important work and, as a critical partner, we will be reaching out to our stakeholders to work together to make this effort a success.

Brightly Colored Town Houses.

The 100,000 Homes Campaign is coordinated by Community Solutions, a national nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities and ending homelessness that is supported by a broad base of national and local partners. The campaign is fundamentally altering the response to homelessness by giving communities concrete tools that work, and connecting them to like-minded advocates across the country. 

Campaign communities are identifying and finding homes for their most vulnerable neighbors and helping them build stable lives. The campaign utilizes five strategies of change - that have been successfully used and proven in other areas - to achieve its goals:

  1. build the local team
  2. clarify the demand during Registry Week
  3. line up the supply of housing and services
  4. move people into housing
  5. help people stay housed

Utilizing these tools and strategies, the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness is leading an effort specifically for homeless Virginians called the 1,000 Homes for 1,000 Homeless Virginians. Within Virginia, local communities are beginning to join the campaign. The 1,000 Homes state campaign already has the tried and true processes and best practices from across the nation to help lead us to success. We also have the advantage of several built-in coordinators, like Jessica Venegas and Linda Kaufman, who are available to assist us in our local efforts.

We will be setting our own local goals in terms of how many individuals we will house per year in the Fairfax-Falls Church community through this campaign. Further, the resources provided by the model will prove invaluable as we have just embarked on our homeless singles intake and services redesign work. Being a part of this campaign will help us develop our own streamlined process across the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership on homelessness using one vulnerability index prioritizing singles housing. It will help us with the path problems within our systems to make it as effective as possible. In addition, the program will identify the most medically vulnerable in our community utilizing specific and standardized criteria.

As we move forward we will work through all questions to ensure the success of our effort and good results for our homeless community. As we begin this work, we will be engaging the partnership and will be providing more information and more details about next steps of the upcoming launch of this powerful initiative. Visit the 1,000 Homes for 1,000 Virginians website for more information or email Debbie Scaggs with OPEH.

The Advocacy Subcommittee of the Governing Board on Homelessness

The Goal Team.

Meeting the goal of ending homelessness in Fairfax County within 10 years will take a commitment by everyone. This spring, the Governing Board members of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership on homelessness created an Advocacy Subcommittee, chaired by Kris Amundson, that’s charged with building public awareness and public will. Members include representatives from local businesses, nonprofit partners, the faith community and citizens who are committed to ending homelessness.

The Advocacy Subcommittee is working to develop ways to reach key audiences with important information about homelessness, including how they can get involved. Key audiences were identified and include business leaders, faith communities and elected officials, and a goal was set to help all these stakeholders understand the issue of homelessness in our community and how the Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness is making a difference. Also important is our effort to educate the community on how everyone can get involved with this important effort. Our goals are to celebrate successes and challenge even more commitment in the future.

With volunteer help and support, the Advocacy Subcommittee is producing a video that should be ready in the early fall. Our message is simple: The Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness is helping all our neighbors find their way home.

Interim Rule for New CoC Regulations Released by HUD
On July 14 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released an Interim Rule to implement the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act provisions that formally establish the Continuum of Care (CoC), consolidate CoC funding sources and establish requirements for performance measures for CoC projects and programs.

The HEARTH Act was signed into law in May 2009 to reauthorize and amend the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Many changes were made by the HEARTH Act, including the establishment of a new definition of homelessness, consolidation of competitive grant programs and simplifying match requirements, placing greater emphasis on prevention and on outcomes and performance and shifting more responsibility to the local Continuum of Care. Regulations have already been issued on the definition of homelessness (November 2011) and the new Emergency Solutions Grant program (December 2011). The new Interim Rule implements regulations for the CoC structure and process.

The new HUD rule establishes formal requirements for the CoC. Discussions will be held over the coming months to figure out how to meld the requirements of the new Interim CoC Rule with our existing structure and approach. An examination of how existing programs may need to adjust to fit with the new consolidated program requirements will also be needed. More information, including an Introductory Guide and the actual Interim Rule, are available on the HUDHRE.INFO website.

July 11

Helping Families THRIVE: Moving to Work in Fairfax County
The goal of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) is to help provide residents a place to call home and to give them an opportunity to thrive. To help meet this end, the FCRHA developed the Total Housing Reinvention for Individual Success, Vital Services and Economic Empowerment program, otherwise known as the THRIVE initiative. THRIVE is all about linking participants in FCRHA programs to services offered by county agencies or nonprofit organizations that can help residents become more self-sufficient. These programs are designed to help residents better manage their money, train for a new job, pursue college or other training, become a better parent, learn English, improve health and perhaps even purchase a home.

At the heart of THRIVE is the FCRHA’s application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for designation as a “Moving to Work” (MTW) agency. If the FCRHA’s application is successful, the FCRHA would be able to:

Young couple viewing new home.

Young couple viewing new home.

  • Create a housing continuum that seamlessly joins together the county’s housing programs, including Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers, and establishes goals to help residents move toward self-sufficiency.
  • Expand its already strong community partnerships with nonprofit organizations to provide self-sufficiency services ranging from “ready-to-rent” training to job readiness through homebuyer education and beyond.
  • Reduce the burden both on staff and residents related to recertifications and inspections, which will allow staff to focus more on people, not paperwork. This focus will allow staff to link residents to services, such as job training and education, that residents need to move toward self-sufficiency.

The FCRHA approved the MTW Plan at its June 14 meeting and has submitted its application to HUD. Contact Vincent Rogers for further information about the THRIVE Initiative

Short Personal Anecdotes on Homelessness
One of my first days in the office after being hired to work for the Chairman [Sharon Bulova] when she was the Braddock District Supervisor, we were contacted by a woman about a homeless youth. The young man was her daughter's friend from school but he had no place to stay and did not know where to go for help. 

The Chairman took a personal interest in his case and by working with other county staff, we were able to secure housing for him. I was really happy to be able to help him because he was so discouraged and almost too shy to ask for help. I was also really impressed by how committed the constituent who contacted us was to getting him the services he needed. She and her family went above and beyond to help him. We may not have been able to connect with him to get him services if they had not gotten as involved.

I hadn't expected to be helping a homeless youth. It wasn't a scenario I had really considered. This was probably due to my preconceptions of people [as so many of us have] who are homeless.

Prior to the establishment of the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH) and the reports that are produced from that office, I only had my own experiences as a guide and I learned from this situation that it is not always apparent when you are interacting with someone that they are homeless. Since then, the reports OPEH has been compiling have certainly helped me get a much better sense of the complex composition of the population dealing with homelessness. 

- Mark Thomas
Administrative Aide for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova

I did volunteer once to help the homeless with students from our organization by helping with food deliveries at a homeless shelter by a church in Washington, D.C.during the weekend before Thanksgiving Day while I was a college student. However, I was most impacted after watching a news report on CNN TV on June 8 about a straight-A high school student who was homeless. After returning from a summer program she discovered that she was abandoned by her mom and stepdad last year and left homeless. She worked as the school janitor between her studies to make ends meet. The teachers and others in town pitched in—donating clothes and making sure she had something to eat. The student studied very hard to earn good grades during her senior year and applied to five colleges and was accepted to each, including her dream school—Harvard University. This story was most impactful to me because this student was successful during homelessness and made it to Harvard University.

- Andrew Magill
OPEH Intern, John Hudson Internship Program
 

I have been working with Fairfax County homeless service programs for almost 20 years, starting with The Salvation Army, Baileys Crossroads Shelter (which later became Volunteers of America-Chesapeake/Baileys Crossroads Community Shelter). After leaving Fairfax for two years, I returned to Reston Interfaith, Embry Rucker Community Shelter. I have now been the executive director for Shelter House, Inc. for 12 years. I have seen so many different families come through our programs seeking assistance and a place to call home for their children. Thinking of only one family would be difficult for me to choose how I was personally inspired by their lives and time spent in our program. It only took one event for me to realize I had truly found my calling.  

Looking back through my years of service, I have always tried to search for an answer to the same question, “Do we truly make a difference in the lives of the families we serve, especially the children?” But most of all I always ask, “How do I convince others to believe that we truly need their continued, ongoing support in our collaborative effort to prevent and end homelessness? How do I keep myself, my staff, my board, my donors, my colleagues motivated to keep going until the job is done?”

I remember a six-year-old little boy who was staying at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter with his mom and dad. One Thursday evening a new group of volunteers from the Junior League of Northern Virginia came for their orientation. They would not be volunteering that night in the children’s program. It had been cancelled because of the training I would provide for them. As they walked into the family area, we began our session. I could hear this child running down the hallway screaming, laughing and dancing. He had the most beautiful smile on his face! As he jumped around and anxiously ran into the family area he began to yell, “The Volunteers are here, the Volunteers are here! I have been waiting for you all day!” As both the volunteers and I fought back our tears, I knew then the entire community of Fairfax absolutely does make a difference. Best of all, we make a difference together and I truly believe that precious child will remember us always.  

- Jewell Mikula
Executive Director of Shelter Hous
e, Inc.

June 6

Consumer Council Provides Necessary Insight
The Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) launched with its first meeting on May 15, a significant accomplishment for the Fairfax-Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness and an important piece of the community’s overall homelessness effort.

The establishment of this group of consumers was included in the 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness as a critical element for the plan's success. Many people from Fairfax County government and nonprofits contributed time throughout the past year to establish this important vehicle for consumer voice and involvement in the community. There were 14 new members in attendance (all of whom are homeless or formerly homeless) who each brought a different perspective and set of experiences to the table. Together, the council can now serve as a collective voice for the local homeless community as it brings new ideas and new ways of thinking to the Community Partnership.

Over the next six months the council will be focused on learning all about the 10-Year Plan and establishing procedural guidelines for how they will work together as a group within the context of the larger Community Partnership. Contact Tom Barnett with any questions about the CAC.

The Strategy of Rapid Re-housing
Rapid re-housing is a powerful strategy to reduce homelessness that has been effectively demonstrated across the United States and is newly being implemented here in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. Rapid re-housing represents an important change in thinking and service delivery that results in positive outcomes for homeless families and individuals, as well as the community as a whole.

Mother outside home with four children.

Mother outside home with children.

The goal of rapid re-housing is to help homeless families and individuals find permanent housing and stability in as short an amount of time as possible. It is well understood that people are driven by a hierarchy of needs from the most basic physiological and safety needs to more complicated needs around love, belonging, self-esteem and fulfilling their potential. Homelessness can be a traumatic experience that threatens the most basic of needs. Even while living in shelter, families and individuals are primarily driven by concern around where they will lay their head tomorrow or where they will find their next meal, leaving little time to consider more long-term goals. Rapid re-housing acknowledges the human condition and therefore focuses first on returning someone who is homeless back to housing. Once a family or individual is stabilized they then work towards self-sufficiency with the appropriate level of support.

Rapid re-housing, paired with homelessness prevention services, is also an effective way to reduce the cost of homelessness to the public. Homelessness prevention services reduce the number of people that enter emergency shelters. In turn, rapid re-housing reduces the length of time that people spend in shelters, opening beds for others that need them and, over time, reducing the need for as many shelter beds.

Here in the Fairfax-Falls Church community, homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing services are delivered by regional Housing Opportunity Support Teams (HOSTs). These teams consist of an interdisciplinary group of professionals that all work to help their client return to housing and stability. At a minimum, all HOST clients receive guidance and support from a community case manager. Often HOST clients will also receive financial assistance or help in searching for an apartment from a housing locator. In some cases, when needed, more specialized service providers, such as a therapist or job developer, are brought into the team for support.

Rapid re-housing is relatively new in our community. HOST teams are evolving, growing and working together in new ways. Keep reading future editions of Partner Update for some of the positive results created by these changes.

Families or individuals in need of homeless services can contact Fairfax County’s Coordinated Services Planning at 703-222-0880, TTY 711. Contact Tom Barnett for general questions about homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing.

May 9

Family Shelter Intake Redesign Update
As of March 30, the Fairfax-Falls Church Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness has implemented new policies and procedures to ensure that those who are homeless receive shelter quickly and increase prevention efforts for families at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Illustration of clipboard with items checked off.

Families looking for assistance should continue to contact Coordinated Services Planning (CSP) at 703-222-0880, TTY 711. During that initial call, families will now be assessed based on their current housing status and specific needs and referred to the most appropriate type of service. Those families who are literally homeless should be able to access shelter quickly. Those deemed at risk of becoming homeless will be referred to prevention services and put in contact with a community case manager. In addition, families with the most critical needs are being served first.

The most immediate benefit of this redesign has been the elimination of a wait list for family shelter. The list was originally set up as a unified point of access for shelter. However, over the past 12 years there have been times when the list climbed to over 120 families. For many families, the wait to enter a shelter was over four months. Approximately 66 percent of the families on the wait list never even entered shelter.

In reality we have not always been able to provide true emergency shelter to those in need. These new policies support an approach where every family in housing crisis can be served, based on their specific needs. Ultimately, the result will more closely align homeless services with the community’s 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

More positive news on outcomes is expected in the coming months and will be shared when available. For more information on the Family Shelter Intake Redesign, contact Tom Barnett.

The Chairman's Perspective
As we enter our fourth year of the 10-Year Plan, there are a few important aspects we should consider to ensure success in preventing and ending homelessness in our community. Governing Board Chairman Michael O'Reilly of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness has provided his thoughts on some of these points.

Michael O'Reilly, Chairman of the Partnership on Homelessness

Question: What is the most pressing issue as we complete our fourth year of the 10-Year Plan?

Response: The most pressing issue is safe, affordable and accessible housing. We have established and been working towards a goal of 2,650 housing units to be made available over the 10-year period in order to end homelessness in our community. We clearly need new resources to make that happen and in order for us to be successful, we are going to need to remain focused and diligent while working with our nonprofit, faith and business partners to achieve our goals.

Question: What assures you that we are on the right track in preventing and ending homelessness in our community?

Response: Measured successes that we have achieved and reported through the Community Snapshot report released both this year and last. These reports have provided us all with critical information on our efforts and where to apply our attention and resources in the coming year. I am very encouraged by the buy-in of the committed and capable nonprofit providers and faith community who are making dreams a reality every day.

Question: What can the community do to be more impactful in preventing and ending homelessness?

Response: Everyone should consider donating time and/or resources in the community towards our goal of preventing and ending homelessness. Only with the support of our entire Partnership will we be able to reach our broad and aggressive goals. I encourage each of you to volunteer with any of our high-performing nonprofit partners who need our assistance and commitment regularly to serve some of our most vulnerable citizens. If you don’t know how or where to volunteer, contact the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH) at 703-324-9492, TTY 711 or send an e-mail. In addition, financial donations are critical to our overall efforts and I encourage you to consider making donations to a local provider and/or the Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. Checks can be made payable to PEH/CFNCR (Partnership to End Homelessness) and mailed to OPEH.  

April 11

Our Community Responds to Language Diversity
As our community becomes more diverse, nonprofit and county agencies are working to creatively provide services, housing and assistance for individuals who have a wide variety of language and cultural barriers. As an example, if you were to enter Shelter House’s Patrick Henry Family Shelter (PHFS) today, you may hear one of five languages spoken by residents. Of the 19 families who have entered PHFS since July 1, 2011, only five have spoken English as a first language. Many families receiving services at Patrick Henry have fled civil war, famine or oppression in their homeland. Shelter House is committed to providing culturally competent services to clients and the diversity and range of need has led to new collaborations and partnerships.

With the assistance of the Lutheran Social Services’ Language Line (an over-the-phone interpretation service), PHFS staff have been able to provide translation services during case meetings and clients’ meetings with the Women’s Center counselor. A recent community meeting for all families was held in three parts—one each in English, Spanish and Arabic translations. Staff was able to present the same information in three different languages to ensure families grasped vital news. Shelter House funds this translation service with client services funds and a grant from Capital One.

Patrick Henry continues to develop its partnership with the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center. Dar Al-Hijrah’s social service team has worked alongside Shelter House staff to help families find and maintain permanent housing, including providing financial support. In addition, Shelter House is conducting a parenting class for families and others in the community. The center currently has more than six members attending the class along with a social worker from the center that provides translation services.

Looking ahead, we anticipate a continual need for diverse language and cultural services in our community. Shelter House and other nonprofit homeless organizations welcome bilingual volunteers and partners who want to share in these families’ journeys. For more information on how you can meet this need at PHFS, contact Laura Martin.

Thumbnail of Virginia Supportive Housing Presentation

View Virginia Supportive Housing Corporation Presentation

Discussing Permanent Supportive Housing Needs and Models
On March 15, a special meeting of the Housing Options Interagency Work Group (HOIWG) was held with leading experts in developing and managing permanent supportive housing models for singles. Attendees included more than 40 housing and nonprofit leaders along with members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and the meeting provided a strong platform for dialogue between the presenters and attendees.

“[It was a] great meeting on a complex and important topic," said Braddock District Supervisor John Cook. "I think we learned a lot that will help us move forward with creating housing of this type in Fairfax County.”

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Catherine Hudgins said, “It was refreshing hearing from presenters who understand the problem and are working with partners to find creative solutions that are really making a difference.”

Office to Prevent and End Homelessness staff kicked off the meeting and reported on the growing gap between Fairfax County's targeted housing need of 102 new beds of supported housing for Fiscal Years 2010-13, and a current best-case scenario of obtaining 57 units. This will leave, at minimum, a 45-bed gap with even larger gaps predicted unless new projects and new funding opportunities are identified.

The group was joined by Alice Tousignant, executive director of Virginia Supportive Housing Corporation (VSH), and Allison Bogdanovic, VSH's housing development director, who presented models of various projects in Tidewater, Richmond, Norfolk and Charlottesville. In addition to providing visuals of the properties, the presenters gave a very thorough description of development costs and layers of funding that were needed to produce these units. Through experience, VSH has developed a base model of about 60 units with on-site supportive services, front desk staffing and basic furnishings in a 380-square-foot unit. All projects are set up with a separate Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) for ownership and a second LLC for management and operations. VSH stated that they would be very interested in partnering with our jurisdiction and others to produce similar projects in Fairfax County.

Thumbnail of Corporation for Supportive Housing Presentation

View Corporation for Supportive Housing Presentation

In addition, Corporation for Supportive Housing’s (CSH) Mid-Atlantic Office Director Kimberly Black King engaged the group with a presentation on the wide array of predevelopment and development services that CSH provides throughout the mid-atlantic area. Information was shared showing that development of supportive housing can reduce (among those housed in the program) hospital admissions by 27 to 77 percent, incarcerations by more than 50 percent, psychiatric hospitalizations by 49 percent and other benefits. King also pointed out that in today`s environment, one needs to look broadly for partners, a point similar to one made by Tousignant/Bogdanovic.

VSH is the leading developer of supported housing studios in Virginia and has developed, with multiple local jurisdictions as partners, seven properties to be used specifically as supported housing. CSH, a national nonprofit organization and community development financial organization, helps communities create permanent housing services to prevent and end homelessness.

“The good work being done by VSH in the southern parts of the state and by CSH in the mid-atlantic region is clearly of interest to Fairfax County," said Donna Pesto from the Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning. "The case study information regarding the projects they have completed in various jurisdictions offered insight that will be helpful as we implement the newly adopted zoning ordinance amendment related to the independent living facility use for low income tenants.” She adds, “The zoning administration looks forward to additional discussions with these organizations and participating jurisdictions to explore additional possibilities for expanding our affordable housing opportunities.”  

Willard Jasper, Commisioner, FCRHA
Willard Jasper Commissioner
FCRHA
Don Owens, Co-Founder & President, The Griffin-Owens Agency
Don Owens
Co-Founder and President
The Griffin-Owens Agency

Governing Board on Homelessness Welcomes Two New Members
The Governing Board of the Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness welcomes new board members Willard Jasper and Don Owens. Jasper serves as the Commissioner for the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He retired in 2006 after serving 12 years as the vice president of administration and human resources for DICHROMA, Inc. Prior to joining DICHROMA in 1994, he was director of operations for First Health Services Corporation and vice president of civil and commercial activities for International Business Services. Willard was also in the military for 21 years and retired as lieutenant colonel from the Army Medical Service Corps. He is active in numerous national and community boards and advisory groups, including the United Way of the National Capital Area; past president of the Northern Virginia Urban League Guild; and founder of Project Manhood, a group of adults who mentor young boys between the ages of 7 and 17. Jasper earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from West Virginia State College and received a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from The American University in Washington, DC.

Don Owens received a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from James Madison University where he played football. He has also taught high school math and coached football. He earned a Master of Business Administration at Averett College and holds a Certified Financial Planner designation. Along with his wife, Chris Griffin, Owens started an insurance agency in 1981, The Griffin-Owens Agency, that serves over 10,000 families and 1,000 businesses. Owens served on the boards of directors of Millennium Bank and Main Street Bank, and nonprofit organizational boards, including the Rotary Club of Herndon, Fairfax YMCA of Reston, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and Vecinos Unidos/Neighbors United, Incorporated.  

We welcome new members as we continue to serve those most in need.

March 7 - Special Edition

February 8

Pat Harrison, Deputy County Executive
Pat Harrison, Deputy County Executive

Housing Services Support Blueprint Complements Plans and Studies
“If we are to be successful in meeting our housing goals, our housing plans must be directly linked to our housing support services,” says Deputy County Executive Pat Harrison. “Only in this way can we support people in attaining their maximum level of independence and movement toward self-sufficiency or stability.”

In November 2011, the Fairfax County Office of the County Executive commissioned the drafting of the Housing Support Services Blueprint (HSSB) to complement plans and studies that are underway in several human service agencies. Some of those plans include the 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, the Housing Blueprint, the Long Term Care Coordinating Council’s Strategic Plan and the Community Service Board’s Housing Needs Report.

Each of these plans addresses the housing needs of impacted populations, and each, in its own way, acknowledges a need for supportive services for many who receive housing support. A range of housing support services are critical to enable people to sustain their accommodation; lead healthy lives; obtain life skills and resources to meet their duties and responsibilities as tenants; and get involved in the local community.

The HSSB seeks to supplement these plans by further defining and identifying specific service types, costs and possible means for measuring efficacy. The resulting framework will guide housing and supportive services providers in their efforts to ensure that individuals and families are receiving the full range of appropriate supports necessary to obtain and sustain permanent housing. The HSSB is expected to be completed by the beginning of summer 2012.

What is the HSSB?

  • A planning tool for designing and implementing services related to obtaining and maintaining housing, that:
    • Reflects a multi-disciplinary, cross-agency effort;
    • Identifies the intersection between costs and impacts of services;
    • Sets a framework for establishing service priorities in an environment of limited resources;
    • Identifies gaps in service so that they can be minimized;
    • Identifies best practices and critical outcomes for services;
    • Creates common language and understanding around the concept of “housing with supportive services;” and
    • Updates regularly to match changing needs and priorities.
  • Once complete, the HSSB will provide a comprehensive understanding of the resources needed to support people through the housing continuum and enable stakeholders to realistically match specific annual housing (blueprint) plans with available public and community support services.

What is the HSSB not?

  • The HSSB is not a:
    • Attempt to judge the efficiency or effectiveness of current services;
    • Promise of new projects, services or funding;
    • Outline of every service provided in the community (or a value judgment on those services); or
    • Resource guide.

Who is involved?

  • A collaboration of Fairfax County human service agencies and a sample of the contractors that provide supportive services related to obtaining and maintaining housing are directly participating in the development of the HSSB. The process will engage consumers and families, other service providers and additional stakeholders at strategic points throughout the development.

What is happening now?

  • The project is being organized by three coordinators, one of whom is taking the lead in overall strategy and completion. The collaboration of human services agencies and contractors (mentioned above) make up an Advisory Team. This team has been tasked with:
    • Providing input, ideas and information to help guide project development; and
    • Remaining up-to-date with project progress and sharing that information with their agencies’ leadership and others.
  • In addition to the Advisory Team, several smaller work groups will be tasked with working cooperatively to develop portions of the final product.

Why do we need the HSSB?

  • By creating the Housing Support Services Blueprint, this community is seeking to provide data-driven services that enhance dignity, promote independence and support those who are the most in need of assistance to obtain housing stability.

For more information about the HSSB, contact Toya Codjoe .

A Day in the Life of Hypothermia Service at St. Andrews Episcopal Church
The Hypothermia Prevention Program plays an integral role in the Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness and represents a shining example of community collaboration and effectiveness in serving the critical needs of the homeless when they are in most danger of exposure to cold and frigid weather. This collaborative work is driven by more than 75 area faith communities joining together to serve the needs of the larger community in the last eight years. During the winter season of 2010-2011, this collaborative effort was able to serve 1,026 unduplicated guests as well as move 17 clients into permanent housing. Also, no hypothermia related deaths were reported for the winter season.

Brought on by the collaborative efforts of faith communities and nonprofit groups like FACETS, Volunteers of America-Chesapeake, Reston Interfaith and New Hope Housing, and enabled by the Fairfax County Government, the program engages and serves individuals in need at Hypothermia Programs across Fairfax County. "It is a good junction of needs and opportunity," says Jewell Gould, point of contact for the Hypothermia Prevention Response Program at St. Andrews. Mr. Gould states his passion for social justice is fueled by the needs of homeless individuals in the larger community and is part of the driving force of his volunteer work through his family's faith community, St. Andrews Episcopal Church. The other driving force is the commitment of their church to people who are homeless, in distress and/or in need. After completing their week of hypothermia prevention outreach from Jan. 1 to 8, Mr. Gould and his wife now know that connecting with people one person at a time makes a meaningful difference in changing lives. When communities come togehter, there is an opportunity for understanding of circumstances and a recognition that people do care. Trust is formed and lives begin to change.

St. Andrews has been involved with the Hypothermia Outreach Program through FACETS for five years now. They began as participants working in support of other hosting faith communities, driving and cooking for the guests. Two years ago their church decided to become a Hosting Site for the guests as well. This year, the St. Andrews volunteers experienced some interesting developments during their week of hosting. One guest of the program reached out to a local Quiznos sandwich restaurant after exiting the program for the day and asked if he could work for a meal for his family. The owner did indeed offer him work and pay that day, and also provided sandwiches for the man, and others in the program. The guest engaged the owner by telling his story and sharing with him information about the many other homeless persons staying at the hypothermia shelter for the week. The guest was thanked and acknowledged for engaging the Quiznos owner about their outreach work at a worship service that evening and for bringing a community business owner into the community circle to understand the purpose and need of St. Andrews' critical outreach work. It was very uplifting for the guest to be able to help his family while also giving back to the larger community by bringing the donation (food) support and engaging other potential community partners.

For some volunteers, it was their first time doing outreach. They were surprised to see how many of these guests woke at 4:30 and 5 a.m. to leave for jobs and day laboring opportunities, allowing plenty of time for bus travel and connectors along the route. The volunteers began to ask the same question, "Why are there not affordable housing or rentals available to hard working people in need?" Also, many were surprised at the numbers engaging in life skill classes that were going on that evening on budgeting.

The new volunteer fire watch positions were also surprisingly well received by the volunteers. It had all gone smoothly that week under the leadership and professional direction of the community nonprofit FACETS. St. Andrews partnered with other faith communities such as Metropolitan Community Church, Fairfax Community Church and St. Mary of Sorrows Church to fill all of the needed volunteer positions to have a successful week. The overall experience for the group of 108 volunteers driving guests, greeting, preparing meals, serving dinners, preparing lunches, doing fire watch and cleaning up was exceptionally positive. They felt they were receiving as much as they were giving that week with the rich experience of community.

For further information on the Hypothermia Prevention Program, contact Debbie Scaggs with the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Point-in-Time Count Conducted on Jan. 25
The annual Point-in-Time Count of homeless persons in the community was conducted on Jan. 25. Nearly 80 staff from public and private homeless service providers received training on collecting data for the count. All homeless service providers, including street outreach, shelters, transitional housing, and others working with homeless persons, provided information on homeless individuals and families. It is anticipated that over 75 percent of the information will be reported through the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). The reports will be reviewed, compiled and analyzed over the next two months and will provide data for the Regional Enumeration and other local reports that will be issued later in the spring. Contact Bill Macmillan for information or questions on the Point-in-Time Count. View 2011 Point-in-Time Count.


Above: Reston Interfaith staff and volunteers facilitating English as a Second Language (ESL) class at NRC.

Below: Left, proud graduate of Body Works program Carmen Vera with instructor Patricia Moreno on right and Luz Elena Viteri in background preparing nutritious snack at one of many community building program courses offered at NRC.

Reston Interfaith Continues its Mission through NRC
Since October 2011, local nonprofit Reston Interfaith has been managing Herndon’s Neighborhood Resource Center (NRC) under contract with Fairfax County. “We are excited about the work we have started with Reston Interfaith at the NRC,” says Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services Director Christopher Leonard. “We together will focus on collaboration and coordination among the network of service providers in the North County Region. We are confident that our partnership will increase accessibility and leverage important community assets for children, adults and families so they can obtain the services and support they need.” The contract became effective as responsibility for the NRC’s operations transferred to the county from the Town of Herndon, which had been operating the center since 1999.

The premise for the center is that community-based service delivery is the most effective way to reach residents with a variety of needs, from those who are literally homeless or at risk of homelessness, the unemployed or recent immigrants still struggling to adapt, to established homeowners and tenants who want to acquire new life skills or simply need some meeting space. The center will work collaboratively with the Housing Opportunities Support Teams (HOST) site located at the Connections for Hope Center to provide short-term rental assistance to allow households facing eviction to remain in their homes. During a transition period through the winter, the following services, among others, will continue to be provided:

  • Computer training for children and adults;
  • Mental and physical health services;
  • Legal counseling;
  • Financial literacy classes;
  • Employment programs; and
  • After school programming for children and teens.

In addition, the Town of Herndon provides a housing rehabilitation program and a satellite office for the Herndon Police Department for its community policing/prevention office.

Under its contract through the county’s Neighborhood Initiative Program, Reston Interfaith effectively operates NRC and will continue its mission to provide human services programs to residents throughout the northwestern areas of the county. “Herndon’s Neighborhood Resource Center is an important community HOST resource in Region 3,” said Reston Interfaith CEO Kerrie Wilson. “That brings additional services to help stabilize individuals and families in our community.”

The center is located at 1086 Elden Street, Herndon in the Dulles Park Shopping Center. It is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. For more information or to access the center’s monthly calendar, visit Reston Interfaith.

January 25

Annual Point-in-Time Count ~ Jan. 25
The annual Point-in-Time Count of Homeless Persons will be conducted on Wednesday, Jan. 25. It is expected that all homeless providers will participate in the count, and information will also be collected through homeless outreach workers. Most providers will utilize data entered into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), though a separate data entry process using an Excel spreadsheet is available for providers that are not able to enter data through HMIS. Several training sessions have been held during the past week to prepare providers for a number of changes directed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or agreed upon through the Regional Homeless Services Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The information gathered will be compiled and analyzed during February and March, with a report on the results expected by mid-April. Contact Bill Macmillan for information or questions on the Point-in-Time Count. View 2011 Point-in-Time Count.

Family Shelter Intake Redesign Workgroup
In March 2011, a workgroup was tasked with redesigning the family shelter intake process. The active group consists of a diverse membership from various community-based nonprofit organizations that provide homeless services to families, as well as representatives from several Fairfax County Human Services agencies and Fairfax County Public Schools. The process redesign aims to reduce the number of families that are placed on the shelter waiting list, equip providers to more quickly respond to those homeless families in need of shelter, improve staff efficiency and effectiveness and increase homelessness prevention efforts. Overall, the result will more closely align homeless services with the community’s 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

The workgroup is now scheduled to present their recommendations at the end of January to a diverse group of community stakeholders, including the executive directors of nonprofit family shelter providers and the Fairfax County Human Services leadership team. The new policies, if adopted, will be implemented over the following months. The workgroup has developed a communications and training plan to ensure that service providers are well prepared for the transition and homeless families’ needs will be well met. Results will be forthcoming; for more information contact Tom Barnett.

 Mondloch II ~ Then and Now

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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.

Changing Times

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.

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