Villa implements rapid re-housing

There is really no way to make homelessness any less scary, especially for children, but St. Joseph’s Villa is working to make getting out of it less jarring for families.

The Richmond nonprofit’s Flagler Housing and Homeless Services system will complete its change July 1 to a system of rapid re-housing of homeless families in their own apartments or houses, as opposed to housing them at St. Joseph’s Villa.

“We saw that the Flagler Home’s transitional housing was becoming less and less effective,” said Kimberly Tucker, director of housing and homeless services. She attributed this change to generational differences between the people served when the Flagler program was founded in 1989 and its participants today.

This program places families of any composition in houses or apartments and provides services to keep them there. These include short-term rent assistance funding, employment coaching and help from a housing stabilization case manager.

This manager serves as an advocate and adviser for the families, Tucker said, who might otherwise be rejected by landlords because of past debts and evictions. Typically, a family stays in the program for only three to six months, she said, but the goal is keep them housed permanently.

The main benefit of rapid re-housing is that it immediately gets a family into where it’ll be living, Tucker said, as opposed to having members move into various temporary shelters. This not only provides a permanent address to list on job applications, she said, but also is much less stressful on children, who don’t have to change schools and lose friends.

“It’s a model that respects people’s dignity and helps them to get back into the community,” Tucker said.

Families must be classified as homeless to qualify for rapid re-housing, meaning they have nowhere else to go for lodging. Participants are referred from Homeless Point of Entry, a Commonwealth Catholic Charities program that serves as a centralized intake for homeless people seeking assistance.

The rapid re-housing model has been growing in popularity nationwide recently, and was first implemented by St. Joseph’s Villa in 2010 as a pilot program. Since then, 97 percent of the families it has served in the Richmond area have not returned to homelessness, Tucker said, versus an average success rate of about 60 percent with the old transitional housing model.

Residents currently living in the Flagler Home at St. Joseph’s Villa will be rapidly re-housed or transferred to other area shelters.

St. Joseph’s Villa mainly uses funding from the Virginia state government to run its programs, Tucker said. Rapid re-housing has turned out be much cheaper than transitional housing, Tucker said, because of the much shorter duration of the program and because St. Joseph’s Villa no longer has to maintain a residential facility. While transitional housing cost the nonprofit about $27,000 per family in the past year, rapid re-housing averages about $4,000 per family per year.

“We can serve three times as many people with the same amount of money,” Tucker said. St. Joseph’s Villa expects to help 300 families in 2013.
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State Police urge motorists to #MoveOver during Memorial Day weekend

Memorial Day signifies the official start of summer, and Virginia State Police officials are urging motorists to "do what’s right when they see lights" and move over.

The “Move Over” law is a lifesaving law intended to protect public safety professionals and highway workers who help to maintain the safety of the Commonwealth’s roads. State Police are using the #MoveOver hashtag on social media to promote the law. > Read more.

Henrico to hold June 8 open house on Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill study

The Henrico County Planning Department will hold an open house Thursday, June 8 for residents and other members of the public to provide input for a study of the Route 5 Corridor/Marion Hill areas.

The open house will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Varina Area Library, 1875 New Market Road. The meeting’s informal structure will allow the public to attend at their convenience and to ask questions and discuss the study one on one with Planning staff. > Read more.

Henrico real estate staying strong despite low inventory

The Henrico real estate market has been relatively strong for the past month, despite a lower amount of inventory, according to data from Long and Foster Real Estate.

In the past month, 408 homes have been sold in Henrico, which is 2 percent less than were sold in the same timeframe in 2016.

Last year the median sale prices for Henrico homes was $219,975, whereas this month it's up to $232,500, a 6 percent increase. Which means half of the homes in Henrico are priced above $232,500 and half are priced below. > Read more.

Smither named director of Henrico’s Department of Finance

Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas has appointed Edward N. “Ned” Smither Jr. to serve as director of the Department of Finance, effective July 1.

Smither has served Henrico since 2013 as director of the Accounting Division in Finance. He will succeed Eugene H. Walter, who has delayed his retirement until June 30 to ensure an orderly transition within the department.
> Read more.

State honors EMS officials this week

There were nearly 1.5 million emergency medical services calls and 4,063 incidents per day in Virginia just last year.

This week, May 21-27, declared as National EMS week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, recognizes the more than 34,000 EMS personnel and 631 agencies in the state and commends their efforts and commitment to Commonwealth citizens.
> Read more.

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May 2017
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The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen will hold a grand opening reception for the new exhibit “Shared Space – Art and Living” from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The exhibit explores ways to mix and match artisan-made pieces together to make your home uniquely your own. Attendees will have a chance to meet and greet the artist. Wine and refreshments will be served. Admission is free. The exhibit runs through July 16. For details, call 261-ARTS or visit http://www.artsglenallen.com. Full text

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