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   Helping communities shift from short-term to long-term solutions to homelessness 
April 2012 Newsletter
In this issue:
  • Spotlight on Freedom First Credit Union Roanoke
  • Where we've been in the past month
  • News you can use
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch article: decreases in homelessness in Richmond
  • Upcoming rapid re-housing workshops
  • Save the date! 
    • NAMI VA & VCEH Housing Stability and Mental Illness Summit 
  • Update: 1,000 Homes for 1,000 Virginians & HUD-VASH vouchers
  • State budget conference--take action now!  
  • Welcome to new members
  • Best practices in homeless prevention
  • Survey: engaging landords 


In March, VCEH gladly welcomed Freedom First Credit Union as a new member organization. Located in Roanoke, the financial institution offers much more than a typical bank.          


According to Dave Prosser, Vice President of Community Development, the credit union has a low income designation from the National Credit Union Administration, and it can serve anyone in the local market.      

"Sixty-two percent of the members we serve are considered low income," said Prosser. "We are a CDFI-Certified Development Financial Institution. It's a designation from the U.S. Treasury for financial institutions that serve the underserved."


Dave Prosser, Vice President of Community Development, Freedom First Credit Union

He explained, "We think a little bit differently than typical financial institutions."       


Of the many programs they offer, a few include affordable housing programs, access to grant funding to help with rehabilitation of homes, and car loan programs for low income households.    


"We think creatively on how we can utilize the resources that are out there to bring solutions to our community," he says. "We can assist and help people instead of adding to the cyclical nature of what can happen to them."    


He said that a membership with VCEH helps Freedom First Credit Union go after additional funding sources, and it supports its future endeavors.          


"Oftentimes people need that financial institution to complete the cycle, to give them the chance or the money to get out of that situation."  


VCEH gets around the state to visit with our partners, attend events, facilitate or host meetings, and more. Here's what we were up to in March of 2012! 


Front Royal for a meeting with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Continuum of Care to discuss best practices for possible inclusion in the Northern Shenandoah Valley's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. VCEH is assisting in the development of the plan and guiding the process.      


Harrisonburg for meetings with community leaders to strategize how to implement rapid re-housing for high barrier families.   


Newport News for the Peninsula's 1,000 Homes volunteer training, Registry Week, and community debriefing. 


Fredericksburg, Newport News, Harrisonburg, Roanoke, Arlington, and Front Royal for workshops on rapid re-housing as a part of VCEH's partnership with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Freddie Mac Foundation.  


On the Phone for a meeting of the Rapid Re-Housing Advisory Committee, convened for the rapid re-housing initiative partners: VCEH, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the Freddie Mac Foundation.


Norfolk for the 2012 Regional Conference on Homelessness convened by the South Hampton Roads Regional Task Force to End Homelessness.


McLean for the 2012 AHOME Hall of Fame Inaugural Reception.


Fairfax for a presentation from Virginia Supportive Housing and the Corporation for Supportive Housing on creating permanent supportive housing in Fairfax.


New Orleans to make a presentation and participate in the "Housing First Partners Conference," sponsored by Pathways to Housing and Downtown Emergency Services Center.



Provide Input on Possible Uniform Outcome Standards for Rapid Re-Housing Programs

VCEH, along with our partners the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the National Alliance to End Homelessness, will promote the adoption of uniform outcome expectations to track statewide progress on rapid re-housing programs. These outcome measurements are aligned with new federal requirements for the Continuum of Care programs as dictated by the HEARTH Act. We have received input on these proposed outcome measures from more than 230 people who attended seven events in November and December 2011 and from our Rapid Re-Housing Advisory Committee. 


We welcome additional comments and feedback by April 13 by contacting David Bresnahan at 


Engaging Landlords Survey

If your agency or community engages with landlords to provide housing for homeless households, we would like to hear about your work so that VCEH can help to link landlords to your efforts.  Please complete this brief survey.


Out of Reach 2012
According to Out of Reach 2012: America's Forgotten Housing Crisis, released this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Virginia is the ninth most expensive state in the nation for renters; last year it was the twelfth. Working at the minimum wage in Virginia, a family must have 2.8 wage earners working full-time - or one full-time earner working 112 hour per week - to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. 


Housing is the solution to homelessness, and we must fight for increased affordable housing options for the families and individuals who experience homelessness across the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Richmond Times-Dispatch  
A recent article focuses on decreases in homelessness attributed to identifying and housing the most vulnerable through the 1,000 Homes for 1,000 Virginians Campaign. 



Throughout April:

VCEH will continue host 12 one-day workshops across the Commonwealth on how to end child and family homelessness through rapid re-housing programs. For details and to register, click here. Workshops will cover:  

  • developing relationships with landlords; 
  •  structuring financial assistance; 
  • case management strategies; 
  • community-based services and partnerships; 
  • and outcomes for achieving high rates of housing stability.  

NAMI VA & VCEH Housing Stability and Mental Illness Summit

Creating housing for hope and recovery 

July 22 - 23, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Downtown Richmond, VA
To foster hope and recovery for those experiencing homelessness and mental illness, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Virginia (NAMI VA) and the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness are hosting a two-day statewide summit for advocates interested in creating concrete local community plans. Registration information will be available soon.

Click here for details.


Save the Date: 

Capital One Town Center, Thursday, June 7, 2012
The conference will offer workshops that highlight innovative programming from around the country working to prevent and end homelessness. 

Schedule for 
June 7:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Conference sessions and networking reception
12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Trends and Innovations Awards Lunch and Reception
$30: Full Day Conference for Participants from Richmond Continuum of Care (including City of Richmond, Henrico Hanover, Chesterfield, Goochland, Powhatan, Charles City, and New Kent counties)
$40: Full Day Conference for Participants from outside of Richmond Continuum of Care


1,000 Homes


Registry weeks occurring across the state to identify most vulnerable

On March 26, the 50 Peninsula Campaign (Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, Poquoson, James City and York counties) conducted its registry week and identified 60 vulnerable individuals out of 182 surveyed. 


At the debriefing on March 30, Terry Hall on behalf of Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. announced a $250,000 commitment to fighting homelessness on the Peninsula over the next five years.


VCEH had the pleasure of working closely with our 50 Peninsula partners and participating in their week-long activities including volunteer training, surveying, and the community debriefing. Click here for more information including the results, video, and press release.   
On April 15, our partners in South Hampton Roads will kick off their Registry Weeks in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Western Tidewater. For more information about how you can get involved, please click here.


Developing Partnerships: 1,000 Homes and the Hampton VA Medical Center

As both 50 Peninsula and 1,000 Homes South Hampton Roads campaigns were conducting upcoming Registry Weeks, VCEH organized and facilitated conversations between the local campaign leads, Veterans Administration representatives, as well as Housing Authority representatives to help secure a total of 15 set-aside vouchers for the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads communities. For more information on the set-asides, click here.  


 Budget Conference Action Alert

The 2012 General Assembly adjourned on Saturday, March 10 at 9:30 pm without a state budget and reconvened for a special session on March 21. Our final opportunity to positively impact the outcome of new funding for homelessness in the state budget is now! 


We need your help in contacting the budget conferees to ensure that the final budget includes $5 million in new funding for homelessness. On March 26, the Senate approved its bipartisan state spending plan that came after weeks of negotiations.  On March 27, the House met and rejected the Senate's spending plan. As a result, 12 budget negotiators (conferees) from the House and Senate have come together to find compromise between the competing plans. The current budget conference provides a small window of time to influence the final budget negotiations to ensure funding for homelessness. 


Take Action Today! 
Click here for an action alert on how to get involved.


For more general information, see this week's Richmond Times-Dispatch article about the budget conference process. 

Thank you to our new and renewed Champion Organizations:
The Dragas Companies
Norfolk Office to End Homelessness  

Thank you
 to our recent new and renewed individual and organizational members: 
Hilliard House
Kathy Talley
Kelly King Horne
Michael Wong
Paula Prince
St. Joseph's Villa
Trust House

Have you received your annual membership renewal letter? If so, please renew! If you are unsure whether your membership is due, email




Work Opportunity Tax Credit

The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is available for employers hiring job seekers most in need of employment.  Employers in your community could be eligible for the WOTC if they hire people who could be among those receiving assistance from homeless service agencies, including TANF recipients, veterans, SNAP (food stamp) recipients between the ages of 18-39, vocational rehabilitation referrals, ex-felons, and SSI recipients.  Click here for more information, provided by Denise Byron of the Norfolk Department of Human Services, at the recent South Hampton Roads Regional Task Force to End Homelessness Conference.  


Best Practices in Homeless Prevention

The practice of diversion has been noted as a best practice in homeless prevention. Diversion reduces the number of households a homeless services agency turns away, reduces the length of waiting lists for shelter, and can reduce the demand for emergency shelter. Find a brief on diversion at our website, here. 


Employment strategies for people experiencing homelessness

Virginia was recently ranked by as the top state to make a living in 2012, and the Governor has touted the recent decline in Virginia's unemployment rate to 5.8%.  This is welcome news!  The dignity of work is equally important for people experiencing homelessness.  The Working to End Homelessness Initiative of the National Transitional Jobs Network, has produced a series of briefs examining best practices to employ people experiencing homelessness.  Their briefs provide an overview of a variety of strategies that have been shown to be effective in providing employment to homeless households. Click here.


Engaging Landlords Survey

If your agency or community engages with landlords to provide housing for homeless households, we would like to hear about your work so that VCEH can help to link landlords to your efforts.  Please complete this brief survey.


New Coordinated Assessment/Entry Toolkit 

The toolkit, released by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, includes a wealth of papers, planning templates, informational materials, sample assessment tools, and evaluation tools from the Alliance and a range of communities across the country. Click here for the toolkit.
The Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing and ending homelessness in the Commonwealth of Virginia through community collaboration, capacity building, education and advocacy.  

       Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness
PO Box 14649
Richmond, Virginia 23221
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