2011 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.

December 14

Governing Board Members Reflect on Homelessness
We thank all who have helped to support the homeless this year in our community. As we close out 2011 and move into 2012, we reflect on some of our successes, challenges and the important work we have ahead to prevent and end homelessness. We asked some of our Governing Board (GB) members of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness to reflect on their experience and what has been impactful for them. Here is what they had to say.

Question #1: What motivates you to be part of the GB and help prevent and end homelessness in our community?

Question #2: What excited you the most this year as you worked with the Partnership? 

Chairman Sharon Bulova, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors

Chairman Sharon Bulova
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors


Answer #1: I find the subject of homelessness to be an interesting and challenging one. People become homeless for a variety of reasons—economic hardship, substance abuse and/or mental health situations. Whatever the reasons, I don’t want Fairfax County to be a place where people live their lives freezing in the woods, in their cars, or from sofa to sofa. I have a lot of faith in our Fairfax County community’s ability to get our arms around difficult and complicated challenges and I’m excited to be engaged with a community that cares.

Answer #2: I was very excited to get to know Luella Brown and her son Orlando. Seeing them accept the keys to their new home (very close to my own home near the Government Center) was a real high for me.

Michael O'Reilly, Governing Board Chairman on Homelessness

Michael O'Reilly
Governing Board Chairman
on Homelessness


Answer #1: I grew up in the Fairfax and Falls Church community. We have one of the highest standards of living, some of the best schools and some of the most educated people in the country. It is completely unacceptable for us to allow some who are less fortunate to become or remain homeless. We all should be working to prevent and end homelessness.

Answer #2: The most exciting aspect of working with the Partnership is when we are able to see actual results from our work. It is terrifically exciting when we can demonstrate that our collective efforts are making a difference in our community.

Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, Hunter Mill District, Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Catherine Hudgins
Hunter Mill District, Board of Supervisors


Answer #1: I am motivated to do more for the Initiative to Prevent and End Homeless when I see the array of Board members from business, faith and nonprofit communities roll up their sleeves to work with the Board of Supervisors to ensure we will reach our goal to rebuild the lives of our homeless neighbors.

Answer #2: My most exciting moment this year was realizing that the difference in my real estate tax bill, as a result of lowering of the tax rate, could be put to better use by the Partnership, and urging my fellow county residents to join me in doing the same.
Kathy Albarado, Helios HR President & CEO

Kathy Albarado
Helios HR
President & CEO


Answer #1: I have a belief that 'it takes a village' to create and engaged community and that business owners and executives have a responsibility to support those in their community. My involvement in the Governing Board helps identify how best to leverage the resources of our team in making an impact. 

Answer #2: I loved seeing the energy behind over 100 businesses in Fairfax County and the support of our Chamber in eagerly participating in Jeans Day—even those taken out of their comfort zone—rallied to spread awareness of homelessness in our community.


Ending Homelessness Snapshot 2011  

Snapshot of Communitywide Data
The 2011 Ending Homelessness in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Snapshot is in its final stages of preparation. This is the publication's second year, which presents a snapshot of communitywide data that reflects the outcome of the 10-Year Plan goals, its collective successes and challenges, and the tremendous need that exists in our community. The Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness look forward to sharing the Snapshot with partners and the greater community in January 2012. View Community Snapshot 2010

Consumer Advisor Council Update
Our 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness identifies the Consumer Advisory Council (CAC) as one of five organizational elements in the Community Partnership. The CAC is being formed in order to provide a formal mechanism for individuals or persons in families who have experienced homelessness to convey input and policy recommendations on local efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The CAC is charged with providing feedback to the Governing Board of the Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness and Interagency Work Groups on policy and strategies in the execution of the Implementation Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Recruitment for CAC members began at the beginning of November and a total of 42 applications were received from interested consumers. During the month of December the CAC Planning Committee will be facilitating regional meetings with applicants and conducting one-on-one interviews. Contact Tom Barnett with any questions about the CAC.

November 16

Hypothermia Prevention Sites Gear Up for 2011-2012 Winter Season
"As we approach the winter months and prepare to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents in the Fairfax-Falls Church community, it is of utmost importance that we are all safe from the elements that can cause hypothermia and even death. I was amazed to learn of the collaborative efforts that have been put in place over the last several years to protect and safeguard our most vulnerable residents during the winter months through the Hypothermia Prevention Program and Winter Seasonal Programs." ~ Michael L. O’Reilly, Chairman, Governing Board of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. Read More.

HUD Continuum of Care Grant Applications Submitted
On Oct. 28, the annual Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance grant applications were submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If successful, the applications will secure over $5.9 million in HUD resources to operate 26 CoC programs for one year throughout calendar year 2012. Applications were submitted by partners in the Fairfax-Falls Church CoC for renewal of 21 Supportive Housing Program projects with one-year funding totaling $4,088,884 and 114 Shelter Plus Care beds in four projects with over $1.5 million in rental assistance. The CoC Committee of the Governing Board also selected and approved including one new “bonus” project with $314,906 in HUD funds to provide 22 permanent supportive housing beds for chronically homeless and other homeless individuals with disabling conditions. The applications were from 13 organizations, including 10 nonprofits and three county agencies, all submitted as part of a communitywide application prepared by the Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness. Notice of awards for the renewal programs is expected within the next month. The announcement of new project awards by HUD will be sometime in the spring of 2012. For more information, contact Bill Macmillan.

October 19

Take Steps to End Homelessness!
Sign up to support a local walk or walk on the National Mall in the 24th Annual Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon on Nov. 19. The Fannie Mae program is currently taking place across the county. The mission is to raise public awareness of the issues surrounding homelessness, while providing support and increasing resources for organizations working to prevent and end homelessness in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Many organizations are hosting community mini-walks.

Learn more about mini-walks, which may benefit some of the organizations working to end homelessness in Fairfax-Falls Church: Reston Interfaith, Shelter House, FACETS, Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services, United Community Ministries, New Hope Housing, Volunteers of America Chesapeake, Northern Virginia Family Service, Homestretch, Western Fairfax Christian Ministries and others.

Joel McNair Retires as CEO of Pathway Homes
On Oct. 15, Joel McNair retired as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pathway Homes, Inc. McNair was there when the first home opened in 1982, lived with residents for several months and worked for two years as a counselor. He wrote their first policy and procedure manual and worked through the process to obtain their state license. After leaving to work in Prince William County for a period, McNair returned to Pathway Homes as the CEO in 1990.

Since 1990, Pathway Homes has grown from six homes serving 48 consumers to 41 homes, 120 apartments and an assisted living facility serving 376 consumers. McNair helped to create the Supported Housing Options Program (SHOP) in 1991. The program continues to engage consumers and families in program services and has brought many folks back to the community who others thought would never be able to leave a hospital.

McNair built partnerships with numerous other nonprofit and public agencies and has continued to advocate for and practice active involvement of consumers in program design and operation. These partnerships formed the foundation for the Fairfax-Falls Church Continuum of Care (CoC) before the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) even adopted the idea of communities working together to end homelessness. By applying for a new grant nearly every year, Pathway Homes has greatly expanded the capacity for permanent supportive housing and operates or is a partner in nearly half the grants in the annual CoC application. McNair and Pathway Homes have received many awards, including the Governor’s Best Housing Organization Award in 2007.

But beyond his role as a HUD grantee and leader at Pathway Homes, McNair has been an inspiration and a mentor throughout our CoC system. He has willingly helped other organizations develop and implement programs and has freely shared his extensive knowledge of the HUD grant process. As the CoC evolved in 2004–2009, McNair co-chaired the Best Practices Committee that developed the peer review process for the annual HUD grant renewals. Pathway Homes was one of the first agencies to utilize the Homeless Management and Information System (HMIS), and their involvement has been crucial to successful implementation.

McNair also participated in work groups to develop the 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness and has been part of the Housing Options Work Group establishing targets to achieve the Plan's housing goals. Joel McNair’s lasting contribution is the enrichment of the lives of those he served, and the inspiration he gives to his CoC colleagues.

Special Thanks to Monica Foote and Welcome Nikki Thomas-Campbell
Monica Foote, Homeless Information Systems (HMIS) manager and an effective leader in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness, will be leaving the partnership but not our community. Foote will be managing the Fairfax County Human Services Site Planning and Operations Management team.

Foote has done an outstanding job in leading our efforts to more effectively use HMIS by engaging and welcoming many new participating organizations and programs throughout the Fairfax-Falls Church community. Her leadership has been very significant to prevent and end homelessness by providing critical training to strengthen our data quality and streamline our means of reporting. Foote has helped to implement many effective tools including the monthly Data Quality Day to review and correct data to ensure higher data quality is used as well as establishing data monitoring standards. We wish Foote all the best in her new endeavors.

We are fortunate to introduce Nikki Thomas-Campbell as the new HMIS administrator. She was with the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging and brings a wealth of experience and skills. We welcomed her to our team on Oct. 17.

September 14

Fairfax Community Connections Highlights Ways to Get Involved
Fairfax Community Connections highlights the many ways to Gather, Give, and Get Involved in Fairfax County and celebrates the positive impact these connections make in the community. This is not a new organization, rather a new communications channel to share and find opportunities to volunteer and donate to community nonprofits and make a difference through activities already happening and in the works.

The Fairfax–Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness is partnering with the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce to host Jeans Day 2011 on Friday, Oct. 21, which will be an exciting Community Connections opportunity for the Chamber's corporate members. At the Fall for Fairfax festival on Oct. 1, participants will have a chance to share their community connections story on tape. Oct. 22, Volunteer Fairfax will offer many ways to make a difference through volunteering at VolunteerFest. And, the Dulles, McLean and Reston Chambers of Commerce are offering events for nonprofit organizations.

We invite all to post their opportunities, events, challenges and to share stories, pictures and experiences through the Fairfax Community Connections website and to visit our Facebook page and tell stories that promote and recognize good events so that more people will be inspired to Gather, Give, and Get Involved. For more information contact Vance Zavela or Chris Copley.

Department of Family Services Avidly Supports 10-Year Plan
The Department of Family Services (DFS) avidly supports the 10-Year Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness and the direction homeless services is going. The commitment is shown through active participation in various housing and planning committees.

Consistent with the Housing Opportunities Support Teams (HOST) model, DFS has been engaged in improving collaborative efforts to serve the homeless community. Margaret Mellnik, DFS housing advocate, helps to support the work between DFS and nonprofit service providers for people who are homeless. Mellnik hosts a monthly meeting for service providers that offers peer support and collaboration, plus education on resources and interventions. She also co-chairs the Shelter Intake Redesign Group that focuses on improving prevention and diversion services for families at risk of homelessness.

To further increase collaboration, DFS has recently invited service providers for people who are homeless to regional staffing meetings to discuss difficult cases and receive support as needed. “We want to be more active partners. Through closer collaboration with the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness and its partners, we can improve the way we serve clients,” says Mellnik.  

HUD Announces Continuum of Care Grant Process
On Aug. 28, 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 community process and all grant projects will need to be completed and submitted online to HUD before Oct. 28. Reviews of existing grants due for one-year renewals in 2012 are being scheduled in September. Additionally, the Fairfax-Falls Church CoC will have up to $314,909 available for a new project that meets local and HUD selection criteria.  

The Fairfax-Falls Church CoC application will include 21 Supportive Housing Program projects with one-year funding totaling $4,088,884 and 114 Shelter Plus Care beds in four projects with approximately $1.5 million in rental assistance. The CoC application also can include new projects to provide permanent supportive housing. As determined by the HUD formula, the maximum “bonus” amount available for new permanent housing will be $314,909, which is slightly more than in the 2010 application. Local guidelines for new project proposals are being developed through a community process and will be reviewed with Governing Board members of the Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness.

HUD has modified some of the requirements for the bonus project this year. The project must provide permanent supportive housing, but can serve either families or individuals with disabilities. More than one project can be submitted if within the total funding available. HUD will allow applications for a one-year term, but a local decision on grant term and number of applications has not yet been made. The CoC Committee of the Governing Board will hear presentations from interested potential applicants and select one or more to be submitted to HUD based on the anticipated viability of the proposals and maximizing the production of units to meet the housing targets for 2012. 

A more detailed notice has been sent to current CoC applicants and partners and additional housing organizations. If you did not receive the email notification or your organization wants additional information, contact Bill Macmillan.

Housing Locator Network Welcomes Scott Pitts
Scott Pitts joined the Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services team to coordinate the Housing Locator Network, which helps people who are homeless and near-homeless throughout the Fairfax-Falls Church community locate stable affordable housing. Most recently, Pitts was the housing locator for Shelter House. His experience there involved matching up families needing housing with available rental units in the community and property management. Pitts gained firsthand knowledge in these areas and is experienced in various types of training and support needed for all of the housing locators throughout our community.

August 24

CSB Intensive Community Treatment Pilot Yields Great Outcomes
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) Intensive Community Treatment Pilot has been a great success! This service model provides intensive, community-based outreach, engagement and treatment services to people who are homeless or chronically homeless with serious mental illness and substance use disorders. Twenty-four people have been served by the pilot. Some of the exciting outcomes for those served:

  • 50 percent are now in permanent housing.
  • 64 percent have obtained benefits such as Social Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid.
  • 75 percent have accepted psychiatric medication services.
  • 25 percent have engaged in active substance abuse treatment services in addition to the 25 percent who have accepted substance abuse detoxification services.
  • 74 percent have accepted medical services.
  • 4 percent are employed and an additional 25 percent are working with CSB vocational counselors toward a goal of employment.

Additionally, staff are currently being hired for three additional Intensive Community Treatment Teams and they should be up and running by mid-to-late September.

HUD Continuum of Care Grant Process Underway
The formal Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the annual Fairfax-Falls Church Continuum of Care (CoC) applications is expected by late August or September. The CoC application will include 21 Supportive Housing Program projects with one-year funding totaling $4,088,884 and 114 Shelter Plus Care beds in four projects with approximately $1.5 million in rental assistance. The CoC application can also include new projects to provide permanent supportive housing. As determined by HUD formula, the maximum “bonus” amount available for new permanent housing will be $314,909, which is slightly more than in the 2010 application. Local guidelines for new project proposals are being developed through a community process and are expected to be announced in late August, subject to any changes required by instructions from HUD. All current CoC applicants and partners will receive an e-mail notification of the opportunity to submit a proposal, and additional housing organizations will also be included. For more information, contact Bill Macmillan.

Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority Elects New Chairman
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) elected Elisabeth Lardner, Mount Vernon District, as chairman at its meeting on July 21.Commissioner Larder was appointed to the FCRHA in 2001 and has served as the vice chairman for the past two years. She has more than 30 years of experience in landscape architecture, planning and urban design. In addition, she is a principal landscape architect at Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects in Alexandria. The Commissioner is actively involved in the Mount Vernon community and is a leader in revitalization and affordable housing projects in the area. 

July 20

Four-Year Homeless Trends Presented to Governing Board
Bill Macmillan with the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH) presented on trends in homelessness in the Fairfax-Falls Church community since 2008 at the June Governing Board meeting of the Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness. Based on the annual Point-in-Time counts, the number of persons who are homeless has dropped by 15.6 percent since 2008, with a 15 percent decrease in number of families and a 10.5 percent decrease in the number of single individuals who were literally homeless. There has been a 34 percent increase in the number of individuals in permanent supportive housing, and fewer families in transitional programs with more focus on moving people into permanent housing. Incomes reported are extremely low: only $1,227 per month for families and $638 per month for single individuals full presentation below.

Tom Barnett Joins OPEH
Tom Barnett has recently joined OPEH as the new program manager. His direct service and leadership experience in service to families and individuals who are homeless is diverse and focused on helping people regain self-sufficiency through real, tangible resources, such as stable housing. While working as a housing specialist in New York City, he gained experience finding housing for families despite overwhelming obstacles. As part of the American Red Cross of Greater New York’s Disaster Recovery program he helped people displaced by the Sept. 11 attack find stability. Barnett previously worked at Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services as a family advocate, deputy director of operations and most recently as the housing locator network coordinator. He led the countywide multi-agency effort to develop the new and exciting Fairfax-Falls Church Housing Locator Network that has stimulated new partnerships among not-for-profit organizations, landlords, businesses and numerous government agencies to prevent and end homelessness. Please join us in welcoming Tom to OPEH. Toya Taylor Codjoe led the program manager position since 2009. We thank her for helping to accelerate our efforts in preventing and ending homelessness in our community.

June 23

2010-2011 Winter Seasonal Programs
This past winter season, our community was been successful in bringing in our most vulnerable neighbors from the cold and preventing loss of life due to hypothermia. From Nov. 21, 2010 through March 31, 2011, Fairfax-Falls Church community partners provided hot meals and shelter for those who live unsheltered in our community. This winter season, 1,027 people were served and 26,126 shelter nights were provided, which is a decrease of 151 people from last season. 

The main part of our Winter Seasonal Programming is the Hypothermia Prevention Program, which is a collaborative program of local nonprofit organizations, faith-based communities and government agencies working together to provide warm places for Fairfax-Falls Church unsheltered homeless to sleep during the cold winter months. Over 100 houses of worship worked tirelessly to provide shelter and warm meals to our most vulnerable neighbors. Their work is supported by local nonprofits and government agencies that provide needed social services and coordination at multiple sites across the area. Other winter seasonal programming includes the overflow from the hypothermia sites and shelters directly.

FACETS served 219 people in partnership with 45 faith-based organizations, provided 87 clients with case management, and moved six clients into permanent housing. New this year for FACETS was the use of the Self-Sufficiency Outcomes Matrix that provided measurement of client gains/losses in self-sufficiency. New Hope Housing served 282 people in three programs in partnership with 17 faith-based organizations and over 400 individual volunteers. Of the three programs New Hope Housing operates, Friends of Falls Church Winter Shelter served 51 clients for the season. Together New Hope Housing and Friends of Falls Church moved nine clients into permanent housing. Additionally, Reston Interfaith served 298 people in two programs and made available case management and housing location services to their clients. And, Volunteers of America Chesapeake (VOAC), Baileys Crossroads Community Shelter served 526 people in two programs and provided case management for 202 clients.

Our primary goal is to prevent individuals from experiencing hypothermia and thus possibly save lives. These programs also provide opportunities to connect people to services that are aligned with the Housing First approach including case management, housing location, mental health, health care, and detoxification. Our sincere appreciation and thanks to all of the faith-based communities, nonprofits, partner government agencies and individual volunteers who spent countless hours this winter season to help our most vulnerable neighbors.   

In July, we will begin our planning sessions with the providers for next winter season. Stay tuned for dates and times of those sessions in future editions of Partner Update. For more information, contact Debbie Scaggs.    

Housing Locator Network Ongoing Success
The Housing Locator Network Discussion Group keeps growing! Many different individuals and homeless service providers work in the Fairfax-Falls Church community to help homeless people find stable, affordable housing. For two years, the Fairfax-Falls Church Housing Locator Network has become one of the most visible signs that homeless services has changed dramatically to include more collaboration and partnership. 

Communication has become easier and more accessible among those involved in the Network. In particular, the Housing Locator Network has an online discussion group to help facilitate partner communication. In only six months the online discussion group has tripled its membership, totaling 154 members. Visit online to join the discussion group today.

Our Housing Locators work to understand the unique set of needs and challenges that many prospective renters now face when searching for a stable place to live in Fairfax County. Housing Locators walk individuals and families through the entire rental process. They also provide valuable landlord connection resources, financial planning and access to a comprehensive Responsible Resident training course (also known as "Ready to Rent"). Since Jan. 2011, our Housing Locators have successfully housed 110 households in permanent housing. For more information about the Network, contact April Martin

May 11  

Hypothermia Prevention Brings in Results
The 2010-2011 Hypothermia Prevention Program ended April 1. Volunteers of America Chesapeake, FACETS, New Hope Housing, and Reston Interfaith, working as a collaborative group, successfully prevented any loss of life due to hypothermia during the winter season. The outstanding work and efforts by our providers, partners and volunteers are greatly appreciated as they continue to do a wonderful job each year. Once again there were no medical outbreaks or flu epidemics this year due to the diligent efforts by the Homeless Healthcare Program nurse practitioners. The providers presented their final reports on April 20 and a final highlights report will be presented to the Governing Board of the Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness this month. For more information, contact Debbie Scaggs.

Kicking Off "Ready to Rent"
The Fairfax-Falls Church Housing Locator Network kicked off the first "Ready to Rent" training for clients of the Housing Opportunities Support Teams (HOST). The "Ready to Rent" program is a professionally designed curriculum focused on teaching clients skills specific to securing and maintaining housing. Graduates of the program are able to leverage their newly learned skills and certification to secure new homes for their families. More than 100 housing and human service organizations across the U.S. and Canada have successfully utilized this curriculum. The first class was held at the Volunteers of America Chesapeake's Baileys Crossroads Community Shelter. More classes will be scheduled. For more information, contact April Martin

April 13  

Learning About Emergency and Permanent Housing Counseling
The Fairfax-Falls Church Housing Locator Network is leading a course on emergency and permanent housing counseling in partnership with the Center for Housing Counseling and Training. During this 12-week course, which began on March 7, 26 case managers and other human services staff are learning from experts about eviction prevention along with fair, affordable and special needs housing.

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