Virginia Supportive Housing
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VSH Monthly Newsletter
March 2014


Virginia Supportive Housing ENDS homelessness, one person at a time, by providing permanent housing and supportive services. Thanks to your support, we can continue to improve the lives of the people we serve and transform communities with our proven solutions to homelessness!
Story of Hope
"The hardest thing is asking for help. Whether it is pride or fear, sometimes it seems easier to suffer. However, there comes a time when suffering becomes unbearable. When you get that low, you have to ask for help."
Now 65 years old, Jason (not his real name) began as a DJ before moving into radio news. His work ethic was strong and he hardly ever took sick days, even when it caused him physical stress. He was in radio for a total of 45 years, two of which were spent with the Army in Vietnam. When WRVA downsized in 2011, he was left jobless and confused about what to do next. His inaction and avoidance led to homelessness and in response to his feelings of depression, he developed addictions to marijuana and alcohol.
Jason drifted through various cities and lived in his car as long as he could. Finally he ended up back in Richmond and sleeping under the Lee Bridge. He mostly remembers the endless days when it rained on him without stopping and was cold, so cold. "When you're homeless, you're hopeless."
In May of 2013, things began to turn around for this former Vietnam veteran. Thanks to Housing Transition Outreach Coordinator Crystal Rivera of the Daily Planet, Jason was introduced to VSH's Veterans Services Supervisor Libby Tofflemire. According to Jason, VSH brought back into his life what he was missing by eliminating the learned helplessness and giving him a renewed sense of hope. 
Between May and November of 2013, Jason accessed emergency shelter through CARITAS and six months of temporary housing through Freedom House. He also joined AA and has made it to step nine of the program, thanks to his sponsor.
On November 20, 2013, thanks to the funding and support provided by VSH's Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, Jason moved into his own apartment. After completing a financial literacy course with VSH's Program Manager of Housing Counseling Salathia Johnson, he learned to manage his Social Security income, put away savings, and even purchased a 2004 Volvo.
Jason is now sober, taking full control of his life, and learning valuable life skills. What's the next step? He is currently focused on paying it forward by helping other recovering alcoholics, and his career goal is to become a copywriter. None of this would have been possible without the kindness, respect, and support shown to him along the way. The key, according to Jason, is to ask for help and remain hopeful. VSH is in the "hope business."
 March is National Social Work Month
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has proclaimed March as National Social Work Month! In a campaign called All People Matter, social workers across all sectors have been working to raise awareness of the profession and all the ways that social workers address critical community needs and make a difference. According to NASW CEO Angelo McClain, "The field of social work requires its members to put the ideals of citizenship into action every day." Did you know that social workers help turn public attention to complex social issues that affect millions of lives? VSH acknowledges and celebrates this important profession by honoring the contributions of its social work staff, represented by Anna Hardin in the segment below! 
Spotlight on Anna Hardin
Anna Hardin has been with Virginia Supportive Housing for three years. She began as the social worker for New Clay House and now serves as VSH's Clinical Services Supervisor for the permanent supportive housing sites in Richmond. She has been in the social work field since 2001, received her Master's in Social Work (MSW) from VCU, and is currently working toward her license as a clinical social worker.
Why did you get into social work?
I started working with children and families in Pueblo Colorado and I quickly realized that I love helping others and having a different purpose every day. When I moved back to Virginia, I found a job at a transitional homeless shelter and I knew at that point that social work was what I was meant to do in life.
What do you enjoy about your work with VSH?
Every day is a challenge and every day is different. I love coming to work and seeing that what we are doing is making a difference in the lives of the residents that we serve. It is rewarding to see someone finally feel safe and at home when they enter permanent supportive housing. From that point, we can start to help clients work on achieving new goals and dreams.
Why do you enjoy serving VSH's population?
We serve individuals who were chronically homeless and medically vulnerable. When these individuals enter VSH housing, you can tell a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Permanent supportive housing serves as a safe place that allows individuals to grow and move toward goals that were, at one point, not possible. I learn something new every day and I feel lucky to work with individuals who have not given up no matter how many obstacles they have faced.
Why do you consider the work of VSH important?
The work that VSH does is very important and necessary. Individuals who are facing homelessness are not able to worry about anything apart from getting a roof over their heads. VSH not only provides that roof, but it is a safe place that supports clients in a way that many have not been supported before. We provide case management, mental health support, employment services and so much more. This gives clients the opportunity to reach their full potential and to really begin making changes in their lives for the better. The work that we do is unique. Not many agencies give clients the stability that we do and when a client realizes that he or she is finally home....many other parts of the puzzle begin to fall into place.
Final thoughts?
I don't think any social worker starts working in this field to become rich...but the riches that I have received from working with our clients and staff is more valuable than all the money in the world. I am proud to work at VSH and to continue to serve the homeless population of Richmond City!
Homeless Man    
1000 Homes For 1000 Virginians Update
Did you know that the average lifespan for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness is 25 years shorter than it is for the general population? For these individuals, housing can literally be a matter of life and death. The 1000 Homes for 1000 Virginians Campaign was launched in August of 2011 to identify the individuals most at risk of dying and to systematically house them before it's too late. As of February 2014, 241 individuals/families have been housed through this campaign and of those, Virginia Supportive Housing has housed 179 or 74%, either through scattered site programs like A Place to Start and HomeLink, or through permanent housing sites like The Studios at South RichmondTo download a fact sheet on this campaign, please click here
News From Hampton Roads
On March 4, 2014, Norfolk City Council approved the zoning for Church Street Station Studios, Virginia Supportive Housing's fifth supportive housing complex in the Hampton Roads area. Church Street Station Studios will offer 80 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless adults and for adults earning less than 50% of Area Median Income. VSH will co-develop the mixed-income site with Luna Development, which will develop an additional 40 apartment units at the same site. As with VSH's other Hampton Roads developments, Church Street Station Studios will be constructed according to EarthCraft certification standards and will include environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels. Construction on Church Street Station Studios is slated to begin in the second half of 2015. Stay tuned for further updates!
 News From Charlottesville
Happy Birthday to The Crossings! In March of 2012, our first group of residents moved into their new homes at The Crossings. Since then, they have reconnected with family, increased their income, and gained access to much needed health care. Residents have found greater dignity and independence, and 94% of those housed at The Crossings have not returned to homelessness. Mark, one of those first residents, said it best: "Having a small, simple place to call my own is hope." 
Help us celebrate  our 2nd Birthday with any gift of 2! To learn more about The Crossings Birthday Challenge, please click on this link. To make an online donation right now, please click on this link.  
Bikes For Vets
VSH is very excited to have the Richmond Area Biking Association (RABA) as a partner for a spring initiative designed to provide greater mobility and independence for veterans being served by VSH! RABA has agreed to repair donated bikes and provide safety training for VSH clients who have been identified to receive the bikes. RABA has also generously awarded a $1000 grant to VSH for the purchase of helmets, locks, tires, and other bike safety and repair supplies.
So what can YOU do to support this initiative? VSH needs approximately 50 gently used adult bikes. We will gratefully accept racing bikes, trail bikes, touring bikes, city bikes, mountain bikes....any kind of bikes so long as they are sized for adults, in relatively good condition and requiring only minor repairs in order to become safe and serviceable. To find out more or get delivery instructions, please click here.  
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
Spring time is a very busy time for VSH Richmond's volunteer program! Our Spring Spruce-Up Campaign launches in April with the arrival of good weather and continues through the months of May and June. With twelve properties in the Richmond area, there is plenty to do! If your team is looking for an opportunity that combines fun with hard work and you are willing to help us paint, clean, or do landscaping services, then please send an e-mail to Alison Jones-Nassar at
Plenty of opportunities are available for volunteers in the Hampton Roads area who would like to support our tenants with activities like meals, game nights, spring celebrations, classes, tutoring activities, personal wellness workshops, grooming services, and much more. To find out more about Hampton Roads opportunities or to request an orientation schedule, please send an e-mail to Michelle Robinson at  
   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
March is Social Work Month!
Spotlight on Anna Hardin
Campaign Update
News from Hampton Roads
News From Charlottesville
Bikes for Vets
WANTED: Household Donations!
VSH Volunteer News
Coming Soon: New Web Site!
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 Virginia Supportive
 Housing is
501(c)3 nonprofit that 
improves lives & transforms communities by providing proven permanent solutions
to homelessness. 

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Donate to VSH Through United Way


CFC #95866
CVC #3413 

Hampton Roads:
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CFC #72837
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Admin Support Volunteer (Richmond)

VSH Richmond needs an administrative support volunteer to help us catch up on some data entry! This volunteer must be able to serve a minimum of four hours per week at our Richmond headquarters.
This role requires an individual with intermediate or better level of computer fluency who can enter data into our SAGE 50 fundraising software system with a high degree of accuracy and a commitment to complete confidentiality. To express interest in this opportunity, please click here.
Group Volunteer Opportunity

VSH is seeking a group or team of approximately 20 volunteers with painting skills who can help us with our Extreme Office Makeover!
Volunteers are
needed to paint the main hallway, Kitchen, and conference room at our Monument Avenue headquarters.
Project duration will be approximately four hours (morning or afternoon) and we'd like to be able to complete this project by the end of April or mid-May. To express interest in this opportunity, please click here!  
Contact Information
Allison Bogdanovic, Executive Director 
Virginia Supportive Housing