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January 2013 - In This Issue:
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Assistance for Heating System Repairs Available
Now through May 15, Housing and Neighborhood Preservation offers affordable loans to eligible Virginia Beach homeowners to replace defective heating system equipment through its Emergency Home Repair Program.
The program helps low- to moderate-income homeowners make emergency repairs or modifications to remove health or safety hazards. Other eligible activities include replacing defective air conditioning equipment in the summer; correcting electrical, gas and plumbing hazards; and correcting defective roof/ceiling assemblies in life-threatening situations. The program also assists with making homes more accessible for the physically disabled. It is not intended for making routine maintenance repairs to systems or equipment.
Program participants must own and live in the home and cannot own additional property. Assistance is based on availability of funding. For more information, contact Olin Walden at 385-5760.
This January marks the 50th anniversary of the merger of the two-square-mile resort town of Virginia Beach and the much larger suburbs and farms of Princess Anne County. 
Throughout the year, the city will hold events to promote its history, milestones and successes; recognize the people that helped shape the city into what it is today; and celebrate "50 Years of Living the Life," here in Virginia Beach.
In upcoming issues of Connections, we'll highlight the department's history and accomplishments as we celebrate decades of expanding affordable housing opportunities and promoting vibrant well-maintained neighborhoods in Virginia Beach!  
bedOvernight shelter for adults experiencing homelessness is available through the city's Winter Shelter Program. The program provides homeless individuals with a place to sleep each night from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. at various faith organizations throughout Virginia Beach.
Participating faith organizations rotate weekly until April to provide overnight shelter and meals. Some organizations may also provide additional support and resources, such as toiletries, clothing and medical care.

Volunteers of America (VOA), under contract with Housing and Neighborhood Preservation, operates the Winter Shelter Program and provides participants with transportation from the Lighthouse Center, 825 18th St., to the faith organizations.

For more information about the Winter Shelter Program, please call VOA at (757) 437-4911, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., or during the weekend from 7 a.m. to noon and from 6 to 8 p.m.  
Families with children experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk should call Connection Point at 227-5932 to access the homeless prevention and services system.
PHC2013This month the city conducted the annual Point-in-Time Count of people who are experiencing homelessness. The count began the evening of Jan. 23 with teams of citizen volunteers, city staff and non-profit partners canvassing locations throughout the city where people who are without shelter are staying and surveying those in emergency shelters and transitional housing.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that all cities 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. Almost all of these funds go directly to non-profit providers.   
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As part of the count, the city and BEACH (Bringing an End to All City Homelessness) cosponsored Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 24, at the Virginia Beach United Methodist Church. The event connected approximately 230 individuals and families to a variety of services and resources to assist them in moving closer to ending their homelessness. phc 2013-2
These included employment agencies, Social Security assistance, social services, veterans' services and other related resources. Participants also received donated services from local businesses and organizations and hygiene kits collected by the faith community.
Preliminary results from the Point-in-Time Count will be available in the next few weeks. 
VBvirtualtownhallVirtual Town Hall, a new Web-based citizen engagement tool, is now available to gather resident views about city initiatives with the goal of incorporating feedback in the decision-making process. 
With this tool, the city can directly solicit citizen input on projects and budgetary priorities. This allows Virginia Beach residents to take a more active role in shaping policy and city service delivery. The city plans to post two or three different topics each month ranging from desired features at a proposed park to roadway safety improvements.
Only a small fraction of the city's 441,000 residents attend city council meetings and public information forums. This may be the case for a number of different reasons -- transportation, work conflicts, childcare and other activities can make attendance difficult. The tool is designed to make it easier and more convenient for citizens to participate in local government. Topic forums are available on for a minimum of two weeks, so you can respond when it's convenient. The program is also optimized for mobile devices so you can participate using a smartphone.
Once registered, users will automatically receive email updates when new forums are launched or choose to receive text alerts instead. Participants are authenticated and each person is only allowed one comment per topic which prevents a handful of individuals from dominating the conversation, arguing or attacking one another. Additionally, comments are monitored for profanity, personal attacks and spam. 
To join Virtual Town Hall, register with your name, address and a valid email address at
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