The Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH), a NLIHC State Coalition Partner, recently convened its statewide conference in conjunction with the release of a new report entitled, The State of Permanent Supportive Housing in Virginia 2015. The conference focused on solutions to ending chronic and veteran homelessness.
VCEH first published its report on the state of permanent affordable housing in Virginia in 2010. The 2015 report updates the progress made toward increasing the supply of permanent supportive housing and ending chronic and veteran homelessness in the state. The report correlates an increase in supportive housing units from 2010-2014 with a corresponding decrease in the number of chronically homeless individuals and families in the same time period. VCEH attributes this progress to recent increases in federal resources for veterans experiencing homelessness.
While the report highlights the significant progress made in ending chronic and veteran homelessness, it estimates that the state will need approximately 2,500 new permanent supportive housing units to address the needs of individuals, families, and youth still experiencing homelessness in Virginia. The report also emphasizes the current lack of resources required to accomplish this goal. One of several policy recommendations in the report is to set aside 25% of National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) dollars allocated to Virginia for permanent supportive housing to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The report also advocates for additional State resources for supportive services in permanent supportive housing.
More than 250 homeless and housing advocates from around the state met on August 26-27 for VCEH’s conference entitled Housing Virginia’s Most Vulnerable. The conference focused on advocacy and best-practice solutions for ending homelessness. Dr. Sam Tsemberis, CEO of Pathways to Housing, served as the keynote speaker for the event.
One of the key topics of the conference was housing trust fund advocacy. Ed Gramlich from NLIHC, Bob Adams from HD Advisors, Kathy McHugh from the City of Charlottesville, and moderator Chris Thompson from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) discussed advocates’ roles related to the National Housing Trust Fund, the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, and the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund.
Staff from the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) presented on best practices for promoting quality permanent supportive housing. Staff from Housing Innovations presented on “critical time intervention” (CTI), an evidence-based model for supporting homeless clients in accessing and sustaining housing. And staff from VCEH hosted other discussions on strategies for ending veteran homelessness and using emergency shelter systems that employ Housing First principles.
VCEH presented ForKids, a non-profit organization based in Norfolk, VA, with the Sue Capers Advocacy Award for their advocacy work in Hampton Roads and for their successful campaign to establish a housing trust fund in Norfolk. (Sue Capers found VCEH in the mid-1980s.) VCEH presented the 2015 Housing First Awards to the City of Charlottesville and New Hope Housing of Alexandria for their exemplary work utilizing the Housing First model.
Interim Executive Director of VCEH Alice Tousignant stated, “We hope that attendees will take what they learned and make progress on ending homelessness and increasing the supply of permanent supportive housing in Virginia.”
The State of Permanent Supportive Housing in Virginia 2015 is at http://www.vceh.org/images/VCEH/PDF/psh_report15.pdf.
For more information contact Alice Tousignant, Interim Executive Director of VCEH, at firstname.lastname@example.org.