Homelessness in Arlington County

Really? Here?

How Big a Problem?
• January 2008 “Point in Time” survey
– 410 individuals identified as homeless
• Many with problems such as severe mental illness, substance abuse, physical disabilities, HIV/AIDS

– 41 homeless families
• 126 persons in families

– 179 homeless persons are unsheltered

How Big a Problem?
• Independent analysis and other studies indicate up to 1,100 homeless in Arlington served every year

Many Others on the Brink
• Prevention efforts • County Funds
– $215,000 to Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs (AMEN)
• AMEN raises $107,000 in order to receive County funds • County providing additional $78,000 in 2009 as “safety net funding”

– Covers rent as well as medication, utilities, rent deposits, emergency needs

• Northern Virginia Family Services

What’s Being Done About It?

The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
• Adopted in 2006 by County Board • Based on “Housing First” best practice • 10 Year Plan focuses on:
– Preventing homelessness – Moving people who do become homeless into housing rapidly – Providing the wrap-around services necessary for them to maintain their housing

The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
Guiding Principles • Commitment from all sectors of the community • Best practice and evidence-based solutions • Affordable and appropriate housing options • Culturally competent and consumer-centered services • Sufficient, committed financial resources

The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
Goals • Increase the supply of affordable housing • Prevent homelessness at every opportunity • Provide supportive services to keep people in housing • Increase income of homeless persons through employment and benefits

The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
Rolling Up Our Sleeves • Implementation Committees based on the four goal areas are hard at work developing operational plans with specific actions and timetables • Results already being seen
– Better communication and coordination among stakeholders – Better understanding of magnitude of problem – Better use of data

The 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness
Leadership Consortium
Chaired by County Board & Private Sector

Implementation Task Force

Chaired by Housing Commission & Community Services Board

Housing

Prevention & Education

Integrated Services

Funding & Resource Development

Housing Committee Goals
• Increase supply of affordable housing • Housing Grant Program
– Review eligibility criteria – Streamline review and enrollment process

• Improve access to and communication with landlords • Increase resources available for supportive housing

Prevention & Education Committee Goals
• Close the “front door” to homelessness
– Educate service providers, landlords, hospital and jail dischargers, persons at risk of homelessness on indicators of potential homelessness and availability of services

• Develop proactive prevention strategies • Educate public on causes of homelessness and how people can help

Integrated Services Committee Goals
• Help those whose multiple medical, mental health and social service issues interfere with their ability to maintain stable housing • Review current services and delivery system • Review best practices • Identify gaps in services and recommend changes • Identify and eliminate duplication of services

Funding and Resource Development Committee Goals
• Inventory existing local, state, federal and private resources • Identify new resources
– Untapped foundation resources – Homeless trust funds

Top Priorities - Policy
• Develop communication and public awareness materials to educate the Arlington community about the homeless, the 10 Year Plan, and how they can help • Develop a Homeless Trust Fund • Modify County’s Affordable Housing goals to include ending homelessness and promote supportive housing • Create a functional Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)

Top Priorities - Financial
• Communication materials to educate the community $30,000 • Ancillary Services (part-time nurse practitioner and Housing Locator for the Homeless) $135,000

Top Priorities - Financial
• Increase funding for rental subsidy programs including Housing Grants, Transitional Housing Grants, and Permanent Supportive Housing ($833,000) • Provide additional funds to increase rent standard for Housing Grants Program and Transitional Housing Grants ($600,000) • Establish Rent Guarantee Fund to support landlords providing housing to homeless households ($100,000)

Cold Weather Plan
• Created to keep people who are homeless safe when the weather becomes extremely cold. • Emergency Winter Shelter Nov. 1 through March 31. [Volunteers of America – Chesapeake (VOA-C)] • Capacity is 58. Overflow facilities at the ready. • Provides safe place to sleep as well as food, a hot shower, laundry facilities and access to a range of services through the Department of Human Services and community partners. • 2049 15th Street North (Courthouse area); opens daily at 4 p.m.

How Can I Help?

It Depends Who You Are
• • • • • Faith community Real estate developers People at the “front door” of homelessness Civic groups Public

Faith Community
• Land resources – create affordable housing
– County Housing Office (David Cristeal) – Enterprise Community Partners (David Bowers) – Alliance for Housing Solutions (Sarah Bailey) – Non-profit affordable housing developers

Faith Community
• Advocacy – Be a Voice
– Support proposals for dedicated funding to address homelessness – Funding for housing grants / rental assistance – Call for employers to pay living wage – Support zoning actions that create affordable units in new / redeveloped properties – Lobby County Board for adequate funding to meet affordable housing goals – Lobby U.S. Congress for housing grants

Faith Community
• Create a mechanism in your organization for people to learn and help
– Social justice committee – Hold food and clothing drives – Adopt-A-Family – Act as guarantor for families – Partner on projects with shelter / housing providers

Faith Community
• Partner with the key players –
– Department of Human Services – 10 Year Plan Implementation Task Force – Non-profit agencies / service providers

Individuals
• Pick up a few extra items to donate next time you are at the store • Plant an extra row in the garden • Bergmann’s “Share the Warmth” coat donation program (last 3 weeks of every year) • Volunteer at the Emergency Winter Shelter • Contribute items for back to school • Check for volunteer and donation opportunities at County Volunteer Office (great web tool) • Donate to community non-profits engaged in homelessness prevention

Individuals
• Human acknowledgement – say hi

Thank You!
• Arlington has the will and the means to prevent and end homelessness • By working together, we can make a difference • Learn more about the issues and the community’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness at:

www.arlingtonva.us/dhs