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Newsletter TitleNovember/December 2010

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2011 Point-in-Time Count of Homeless Population, Jan. 26-27
homelessThe city will be conducting the Point-in-Time Count of homeless people beginning the evening of Jan. 26 through Jan. 27. During the 24-hour period, teams of volunteers will canvas locations throughout the city where people who are without shelter are staying and survey those who are living in emergency shelter and transitional housing. The count will also include the Project Connect Day of Services, where the homeless and those at risk can access and receive necessary services and goods.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that we conduct the Point-in-Time Count to receive federal funds through the Continuum of Care. Each year, more than $1 million is granted through the Continuum of Care to Virginia Beach agencies that provide emergency housing and services to the homeless.

Housing & Neighborhood Preservation is leading the effort, in partnership with the Departments of Human Services, Police, and Public Health, the Virginia Beach Homeless Advocacy and Resource Partnership (VBHARP), and citizen volunteers.
Support VBHARP in Helping the Homeless
Volunteers Needed for Project Connect Day of Services on January 27; "Stuff a Backpack" Campaign

backpackWant to make a difference in the homeless community? Join us at the Project Connect Day of Services. The Virginia Beach Homeless Advocacy and Resource Partnership (VBHARP) is looking for volunteers to assist the homeless on Jan. 27 at the Virginia Beach United Methodist Church at 212 19th Street in Virginia Beach. Volunteers are needed to help as greeters, guides, food servers and with set-up/clean-up.

During the event, homeless individuals and families will be able to access a variety of needed services and resources, including medical checks, Social Security assistance, legal services, haircuts, mental health and substance abuse information, and more.

The event is from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.; flexible schedules are available. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Registrations are due by Jan. 18. For more information, contact Natasha Wise at 385-5834.

Can't make it to Project Connect, but still want to help? Stuff a Backpack! VBHARP is taking donations of new or gently-used backpacks filled with non-perishable food and other items (see link below). The backpacks will be distributed to the homeless during Project Connect. Please donate filled backpacks by Jan. 7. Contact Sharon Prescott at 385-5803 for more information.

Full list of needed items and drop-off locations

Program Helps Make Home More Accessible for Physically Disabled
emergency repair afterHousing & Neighborhood Preservation can help make your home safer and more accessible through our Emergency Home Repair Program. The program provides a one-time-only grant up to $8,500 to assist eligible homeowners with repairs that are required to remove health and safety hazards. This includes modifications to make homes more accessible for the physically disabled. There is no minimum cost of rehabilitation.

Renters of single-family units in need of accessibility modifications may also apply for the program. To be eligible, the property owner must agree to the improvements and be willing to sign a new 12-month lease with the tenant/applicant with no increase in the current rent.

The program also covers replacements or repairs to heating equipment for homeowners without heat during the winter. Other eligible activities include correcting electrical hazards and defective roofs. Service calls or routine maintenance are not covered.

Other eligibility requirements and conditions apply. Assistance is provided based on the availability of funding. For more information, contact Olin Walden at 385-5760.
Program Provides Shelter for Homeless During Winter Evenings
bedMost of us are lucky enough to escape Old Man Winter and return to a warm home each night. For people who may not be as fortunate, Volunteers of America (VOA) Chesapeake, under a contract with Housing & Neighborhood Preservation, partners with local faith organizations to offer those without shelter a place to sleep at night during the winter. The Winter Shelter program, now in its 24th year of operation, provides emergency shelter for more than 270 different individuals between October and April. During these months, faith communities rotate weekly to provide overnight shelter and meals for the homeless. Some organizations provide additional support and resources such as toiletries, clothing, and medical care.

On average, 66 people are served through the program each night during the sheltering season. More than 10,000 volunteer hours are needed to operate the Winter Shelter. Program participants often volunteer themselves by setting up and taking down each site and assisting staff in moving to the next worship space.

For more information about the Winter Shelter, contact VOA at 437-4911.
Code Enforcement Ensures Water Service Lines are Safe, Helps City Recover Lost Revenue
faucetThanks to our Code Enforcement staff, the city was able to collect thousands of dollars from customers who owed payment for water service and ensure that hazardous service lines were repaired.

"When efforts to collect for unpaid water service are unsuccessful, our staff is called upon to help resolve the issue," says Wells Freed, housing code administrator.

Rather than complying by paying their water bills, a small number of residents will install a straight connection to supply their property with water illegally. Others will continue to occupy a property without water service, which constitutes an unsafe living condition. Because these properties do not have legal water service, Code Enforcement must issue notices of violation to deem the properties unsafe. Each case is followed closely until it is resolved.

"These efforts have proven to be effective in ensuring the safety of the residents and also in recovering lost revenue for the city," says Freed.
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