Virginia Supportive Housing
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VSH Monthly Newsletter
February 2014


Exciting things are going on at Virginia Supportive Housing and we are glad to keep you updated on all of the latest news and events! Thanks to supporters like you, we can continue to provide proven, permanent solutions to homelessness!
    Story of Hope
Did you know that VSH added outreach to its spectrum of services in the fall of 2011? VSH now partners with the Richmond Area Collaborative to End Chronic Homelessness (RACECH). Through this partnership, VSH outreach workers regularly go out in the early morning hours into wooded encampments and other areas of Richmond where unsheltered homeless individuals are known to sleep in order to connect them to available resources including permanent housing. Many of the individuals most resistant to housing have severe mental illness and have been homeless for decades. VSH outreach workers are determined to get these extremely vulnerable individuals into supportive housing before it is too late.  
When Richmond recently experienced single digit temperatures, several Virginia Supportive Housing employees went out in the early morning hours to encourage people to utilize the day warming and overnight shelters. They also distributed blankets, gloves, and hand warmers.
People decide not to make use of shelters for various reasons, which sometimes include wanting to avoid the crowded space and rules established by shelters. For some people, mental health conditions lead them to stay outside even in dangerous weather conditions, basing their decision to do so on thoughts and beliefs that are not based in reality.
Virginia Supportive Housing staff had been trying to engage one such individual - who we will call Regina - for several weeks and to provide her with a housing opportunity, which she repeatedly refused as a result of mental health symptoms. Despite concerns about Regina remaining outside in the extremely cold weather, she stated she would not leave her outdoor site, basing her decision on the belief that she "would be rescued soon." Given this circumstance, staff took steps to access temporary hospitalization to keep Regina safe. This team effort was made by dedicated VSH staff who worked after-hours, in the dark, and in bitter cold temperatures.
The hospitalization stay allowed Regina to receive medication to help her think more clearly. For the first time since becoming homeless several months ago, Regina was open to accepting a housing opportunity and to receiving intensive, community-based services to help her maintain a stable living environment in her own apartment. Although many challenges lie ahead, Regina is now in a safe and stable place to live and can begin to address her complicated barriers to stability.
Through its outreach efforts, VSH makes a commitment to its mission to END homelessness even before individuals begin to receive our services. To find out more about the great work of Virginia Supportive Housing, click here.
 Update on VSH Services To Veterans
Did you know that services to homeless veterans are a top priority for Virginia Supportive Housing? As one of the agencies in VetLink (a network established by McGuire Hospital and the Homeless Point of Entry office), VSH is actively working toward the national goal of ENDING veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Since October of 2011 our SSVF (Supportive Services for Veteran Families) program has served 666 individual veterans and 406 veteran households. In addition, our program (originally operating only in Richmond and Petersburg) has now been expanded to include Charlottesville.
VSH is also providing services to veterans at the Petersburg Support Center, a one-stop center exclusively for veterans that provides assistance with benefits, employment, mental health, financial education, transportation, and training in addition to housing. Since the center opened in November of 2013, the center has received 442 visitors seeking services.
VSH was recently recognized for its exceptional success rate in serving veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless when we were selected by the federal government to serve as a mentor organization to five other SSVF programs in Virginia and North Carolina! Congratulations are in order for all VSH staff responsible for these outcomes!  
If you know of a veteran who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Richmond, Petersburg, or Charlottesville, please contact our Intake Coordinator at 804-788-6825.
 News From Hampton Roads
In addition to outreach efforts and veterans services, VSH is always seeking other opportunities to END homelessness in the community. The Point in Time Count (PIT) is one of many ways that VSH collaborates with other organizations and agencies in the Homeless Services Providers System to identify homeless individuals who are in need of services and to connect these individuals with the resources that can help. Tracy Clark, VSH's Acting Director of Services in Hampton Roads (pictured above on the left), recently had the opportunity to assist with the Virginia Beach PIT count and she offered the following reflection:"The PIT count is usually held within the last 10 days of January. However this year, due to the excessive snow, it was moved to February. Each of the 17 member [VSH Hampton Roads] services staff and several [college] interns had the opportunity to assist. Staff conducted surveys in a variety of locations including on the streets, in encampments, at local meal sites, in shelters, and at Virginia Beach's Project Homeless Connect. I must say I was proud of how each staff person excitedly stepped forward to be a part of this important process conducted each year to give a count of the numbers of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. I was even more proud to see that a former resident of South Bay (VSH's Portsmouth property) was there as a volunteer to give back to the community. He greeted me with a huge smile and an even bigger hug, excited to tell me about how things are going for him now. In contrast, the many [homeless] individuals who were interviewed had much heavier descriptions of how things were going for them. But the one thing that was not different was their smiles and gratitude for the services being offered. In my current role, I spend a great deal of time in meetings focused on "big picture" policies and on administrative tasks. So I was glad to participate in the PIT count in order to see, hear, and touch the reason I do what I do - to help the most vulnerable people in need." 
  News From Charlottesville
It's hard to believe, but The Crossings at Fourth & Preston will be celebrating its second year of operations in March! Within the past two years Charlottesville's only supportive apartment building has witnessed many victories in the fight to end homelessness. In fact, Crossings tenant Shawn Bradley says, "Thanks to The Crossings I have a great home. I honestly feel if it hadn't of been for this place, I would be on the street drinking. I would be dead. Instead, with the support of the team, I have been sober for one year and five months." To read more about Shawn and The Crossings, please click on this link to download our most recent annual report.
So how can you help us celebrate? We invite you to make a donation in the amount of $2, $20, $200, or more to support the Crossings Birthday Challenge! To find out more or schedule a tour of The Crossings, contact Resource Development Coordinator Anne Deery by e-mail, or by phone at 434-465-6580. For updates on Charlottesville activities, please follow and "like" the Charlottesville Facebook page! Thank you for making a difference in Charlottesville!   
 60 Minutes Piece On Chronic  Homelessness
Did you see the recent 60 Minutes news magazine feature on chronic homelessness? On February 9, 60 Minutes profiled the 100,000 Homes Campaign with an excellent piece entitled "Housing The Homeless Can Save Money." The 100,000 Homes Campaign is a national movement of cities across the country that have adopted an innovative approach towards chronic homelessness by targeting the toughest cases. So far, the communities that have joined the campaign (including Richmond) say they have housed more than 80,000 people nationwide. Campaign director Becky Kanis says research shows [chronically homeless] people spend less time in expensive emergency rooms and hospital beds when they have housing. To watch the full segment, please click on this link.
Commonwealth Chapel WANTED: Household Donations!
Did you know that Virginia Supportive Housing regularly collects donations of non-perishable food, bedding, and other items for distribution to our very low-income clients? As homeless individuals transition into our permanent housing, they lack many common household items needed to establish a new home. Right now in Richmond, we especially need pots, pans,
brooms & mops! Can you provide any of the items listed below?
BEDDING: Pillow, sheets, blankets
BATH ITEMS: Towels, shower curtains, trash cans, bath mats
KITCHEN ITEMS: Pots & pans, dishes & cups, cooking & eating utensils, tupperware, can opener
TOILETRIES: Shampoo, soap, deoderant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouth wash, body wash, shave cream, disposable razors, hand sanitizer
PAPER PRODUCTS: Paper towels, toilet paper
CLEANING PRODUCTS: Dish detergent, laundry detergent, bleach, all-purpose cleaner, broom, bucket, trash bags
To receive a complete list of needed items or to schedule a delivery, please click here.
 VSH Volunteer News
In 2013, VSH volunteers donated more than 8800 hours of service! VSH is deeply thankful to ALL volunteers who gave the gifts of their time and skills in support of our mission to END homelessness, and we invite YOU to help us make 2014 even bigger and better!
Throughout the year, individual and group volunteers in all three geographic areas (Charlottesville, Hampton Roads, and Richmond) engage in mission-critical activities that include painting, gardening, landscaping, cleaning, minor maintenance and repair, preparing and serving hot meals, celebrating birthdays and holidays, cutting hair, conducting game night activities, teaching classes, serving as tutors, and providing nutrition instruction.
To find out how YOU can make a difference in the lives of our very low-income formerly homeless clients, please click on a link below!
For opportunities in Charlottesvillee-mail Anne Deery or call 434-465-6580.
For opportunities in Hampton Roads, e-mail Michelle Robinson or call 757-802-4689 x 306.
For opportunities in Richmond, e-mail Alison Jones-Nassar or call 804-836-1061.
The purpose of VSH's volunteer program is to support our clients' efforts to stabilize in housing and to reconnect them to a caring community.
   Coming Soon: New Web Site!
VSH will soon have a new web site that is more visually appealing, easier to navigate, and offers more information to more constituents concerning our great success in achieving our mission to END homelessness.
Look for our new improved web site, coming your way in April or May. Stay tuned! 
In This Issue
Story of Hope
Update on Services To Veterans
News From Hampton Roads
News From Charlottesville
60 Minutes
WANTED: Household Donations!
VSH Volunteer News
Coming Soon: New Web Site!
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 Virginia Supportive
 Housing is
501(c)3 nonprofit that transforms lives & communities by providing proven permanent solutions to homelessness. 

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Contact Information
Allison Bogdanovic, Executive Director 
Virginia Supportive Housing 
804.788.6825 x1051 [email protected]