Villa implements rapid re-housing

Method proving more helpful to homeless
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.
Bail Bonds Chesterfield VA

Applications for Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2018 now open

Applications for the Leadership Metro Richmond (LMR) flagship program Leadership Quest are now open at http://www.lmronline.org until May 1. Community leaders from Ashland, Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, Powhatan and the City of Richmond are encouraged to apply.

All interested candidates are encouraged to attend a recruitment reception March 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Markel Corporation, 4501 Highwoods Parkway in Glen Allen. The reception will give candidates the opportunity to meet current LMR members and learn more about the organization. > Read more.

Reynolds CC 4-week, 8-week classes start March 7


Classes start March 7 for Reynolds Community College’s second 8-week and third 4-week spring semester sessions. Registration for both sessions is currently open and runs through the start of classes. Students can register 24 hours per day online by visiting http://www.reynolds.edu. Students can also register in-person in Enrollment Services located on each campus. > Read more.

Public comment sought for plan to reduce impacts of natural disasters

The joint Hazard Mitigation Technical Advisory Committee for the Richmond and Crater regions is seeking public comment on the draft update of the Richmond-Crater Multi-Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the potential impact of future disasters. The 26 localities of the Richmond and Crater regions maintain the plan to collaboratively identify vulnerabilities associated with natural disasters and develop long-term strategies to reduce or eliminate long-term risks. > Read more.

Democrat VanValkenburg kicks off Gen. Assembly campaign


Senior students at Glen Allen High School will get a personal touch when studying elections with their AP government teacher.

That teacher, Schuyler VanValkenburg, recently announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 72nd District seat in the House of Delegates. If he earns the nomination, he will run against Del. Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico, who has been unopposed for 10 years.

VanValkenburg, a 2004 University of Richmond alumnus who majored in history, is running for office for the first time. Although he has lived in Richmond since he began his undergraduate studies, aside from one year spent in Seattle, he said he never felt it was his time to run. > Read more.

Construction begins on JA Finance Park at Libbie Mill


School and business leaders from around the region, including (pictured, from left) Simon Hodges of Dominion Resources, Daphne Swanso(president of Junior Achievement of Central Virginia) and Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas, gathered at Libbie Mill Library Feb. 23 for the Junior Achievement Finance Park construction kickoff. > Read more.
Community

Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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Knights of Columbus Council 395 will hold a Brunswick Stew sale from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Columbian Center at 2324 Pump Rd. Proceeds will benefit the charitable projects of the Council. To pre-order, call Tom Giannasi at (804) 355-3866. Full text

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