Fairfax County Five-Year Consolidated Plan FY 2011 – 2015 Public Input Forum Helping Persons with Special Needs


Notes From
Fairfax County Five-Year Consolidated Plan
FY 2011 – 2015 Public Input Forum
Helping Persons with Special Needs

NOVEMBER 6, 2009, 9:30 a.m.
FAIRFAX
COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER

  

What are Fairfax County’s Current Needs for Housing, Services, or Other Facilities for Persons Who Are Homeless?

  • Need to address homelessness facilities that are without transportation; citizens are unable to access services because of this challenge; access to transportation is important
  • Ability to get education; Some classes at community colleges are free, e.g., through grants.
  • When is homelessness critical? A Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) representative may say that the client is not at a critical stage. The priorities of different services is a determining factor. One definition for critical: citizen does not have access to go and come as they please
  • Addressing delays in the system when the families transfer from one jurisdiction to the other
  • The need for affordable housing
  • Transferring between programs without loosing permanent status
  • Immigration issues, which can be barriers to getting entitlement to access federal programs; Also, programs are limited to those with alcoholism and felony charges.
  • Identifying child issues as they relate to families
  • The need for a flow chart or map, and need for better service integration; System is sometimes confusing, e.g., federal HUD vs. local HUD.
  • Community leaders, such as teachers, keeping an eye out for a possible homeless situation
  • Shelter wait list is a concern, particularly with folks transitioning.
  • Finding affordable child care; Some families can work but must stay home with children.
  • Unemployment resource assistance; employment is an issue in a difficult market; There is the challenge of persons who are homeless raising themselves out of homelessness and increasing their income to be self sufficient.
  • Dental assistance, particularly if it effects employment
  • Outreach/education efforts with landlords
  • Organizations’ access to data to see what communities to work in, e.g. possible access to an eviction list
  • More word of mouth information exchange; personal references to individuals; networking
  • Partnering with businesses (Skill Source)
  • It’s challenging being homeless and the symptoms of an illness can compound the problem. Psychiatric hospitals do not house the homeless long term. There are not enough resources in mental health services.
  • Need to ramp up services for the unsheltered – laundry, showers, health checks, set up a center to provide these needs
  • Families have ownership in 5 years
  • Working with Habitat for Humanity
  • At the Kennedy Shelter, crisis care discharges residents who end up at the shelter but there is no space.
  • Creating a peer run group house
  • A day resource center; a homeless drop-in center like the Lamb Center
  • Concerns about a 2 month waiting list
  • Childcare and affordable childcare is a barrier to work and also being able to attend financial literacy classes.
  • Alzheimer’s is an issue.  There is no one home to help low-income families pay for the medications that they need and the time off (when caring for an aging parent).
  • Structural streamlining problem; Where should people go? They are going everywhere and asking for help and keep getting different answers.
  • Need for community awareness, for residents and social workers, regarding shelters; There is a plan to get everyone on the same page.

What Will Likely Be the Important Needs for Persons Who Are Homeless Over the Coming Five- to Ten-Year Period?

  • Addressing needs of the aging population with mental health issues
  • The need for different levels of care. What happens when clients are in a program and they become stagnate? Where will they be placed?
  • Younger generations living with severe disabilities
  • Greater understanding of importance of prevention
  • Housing First needs to be diverse
  • Address environmental impact, sustainability, e.g. incorporating green design into family shelters
  • Clear understanding of economic cost of services
  • Look at existing shelter models; will they work in the future?
  • Educate the population on how to maintain services, e.g., managing apartment of young adults.
  • Address children not repeating homelessness of prior generations
  • Dealing with neighbors
  • Staffing
  • Address where to place 18 year olds
  • What is the path if client has been homeless?
  • Effective assessments of clients
  • Rapid re-housing program - divert families before they become homeless and fund case management services
  • Educate persons on how to keep their apartment and on life skills.
  • “Home Sweet Home” curriculum teaches 19-20 year-old single moms.  It talks about leases, maintenance, budgeting. Research has shown that that this kind of education results in less property damage.
  • They should make life skills an educational requirement like community service in high school; educate on money orders, checks, how to open a bank account
  • Educate on how to get along with neighbors- socialization- so they don’t complain about you.
  • Professionals helping people need to do their jobs and be creative about solutions (not just say sorry, there is no alternative).
  • Addressing bed bugs; It’s a problem for everyone and there is so much information out there. Maybe the County could offer guidance on the best ways to treat it.
  • Once you get an apartment, what is the path for people who are homeless?
  • Host Families Program helps children and young adults up to age 23 who are homeless.
  • When people get kicked out and put into assisted living they should look for peer to peer support, so they can talk to someone who was homeless before.
  • Medical advances are keeping people alive longer but with more care needs.
  • In-between housing is really important.
  • In 10 years we will be feeling the effects of climate change. We need to promote sustainability and green design in shelters.
  • Clear understanding of the economic implications of climate change.
  • Green housing is seen as a luxury but you have men living in the woods and there is a desire to “put them in a box” with air conditioning, away from the leaves and the trees. There is a need to tie ‘green’ living into safe places.
  • Do we want emergency shelters or do we just want apartments? Regarding some of the existing models, are they viable. We should bypass shelters and go straight into apartments.

 

Prioritization Criteria for Which Needs to Address with Limited Resources

  • Prevention
  • Looking at innovative partnerships
  • Keeping homelessness in the feedback loop, particularly with advisory counsel
  • Expanding housing options
  • County have county-wide policy to increase affordable housing stock
  • Work around best practices (models) for shelter procedures

 

Solutions Summary

  • Restore the Penny for Affordable Housing.
  • Get job hunting support.
  • Partnerships, e.g. NOVA Navigator program
  • Access to medical benefits and medical respite - beds
  • Communication plan
  • New developments setting aside affordable housing units; make it an across-the-board mandate (not just in Arlington)
  • Leverage competition amongst jurisdictions/counties.
  • Education
  • Identification and compilation of resources to be available to all in the community (regarding legal information and resources pertaining to disabilities, youth, families); Accessibility (on web and hard copies)
  • Recognizing complex multiple needs and building a system that meets those needs for all individuals and families (fill gaps)
  • Prevention: focus and activities and funding on maintaining housing, prevention, diversion and rapid re-housing (for families and individuals)
  • Increase housing stock in various respects and innovative ways; managing inventory – includes partnerships
  • Expand and better align partnerships that maximize resources, opportunities and support services for those who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness leading to more self sufficiency.
  • Plans are wonderful but just hearing about plans isn’t going to “cut it”.
  • Regarding Kennedy Shelter, you need to be aware of where you are in the cycle.
  • Mental and physical health a bigger consideration
  • In Arlington County, affordable housing is mandated.
  • Provide more data to the community.
  • There should be an interagency work group.
  • Regarding refugee groups - should we call the 222 number? Is that the number to call?
  • Coordinated Services Planning works with faith-based organizations to distribute funds.  Hopefully the stimulus funds will help with this.
  • Concern regarding incident when someone had a family call and the operator told them they were not homeless.  (Forum response: If the operator says that you are not homeless then you need to call their supervisor.)
  • Call 911 when the 222 number doesn’t work? Are the police trained to deal with homelessness or are they just going to arrest the person or search them?  (Forum response: depends on the situation)
  • Build a better integrated system.
  • Implementation of prevention as a solution; more activities that lead to keeping housing

Additional Information

 

  • Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program funds can assist with diversion of persons before they become homeless — those aging out of transitional housing.
  • N Street Village in D.C. offers multitude of services.
  • DC Central Kitchen offers inclusive training and skill building.

 

Additional Testimony Provided 

Oral testimony was received from an individual who is disabled and homeless and residing in one of the County’s shelters.  She indicated that she was hoping that the “safety net” to help persons with the challenges she faced would be better but she found herself falling through the cracks.  She indicated the following difficulties that she encountered: making too much money to get Medicaid; being on TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families), but losing that when she was put on Social Security (SSDI); being put on waiting lists and then taken off them; needing Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) counselors to have greater knowledge of housing rules; needing CSB to have housing for families versus just singles; needing to have advisers/case managers at the homeless shelter be more helpful; upon obtaining a housing voucher and a list of apartments for persons with disabilities, having none of the places take the vouchers; and needing general help for persons with disabilities, both physical and mental.  She does not see the promise of ending homelessness as a reality.

 


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