Governor McAuliffe announces decrease in homelessness
Governor McAuliffe announced today that overall homelessness in the Commonwealth has declined 7.9 percent in the last year, with a 10.8 percent decrease in family homelessness and 14 percent decrease in veterans homelessness, citing data collected by local Continuum of Care groups across Virginia and compiled by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Virginia is continuing to make strides in preventing and ending homelessness,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The Commonwealth pledges to continue to collaborate with all partners in order to decrease homelessness and reduce the numbers of Virginia citizens who live without a home.”
The ongoing reduction in homelessness can be largely attributed to the shift in focusing resources to rapid re-housing, moving people into permanent housing more quickly while providing appropriate services through community resources. The collaborative efforts of many at the state and local levels, including those involved in the Homeless Outcomes Coordinating Council, and working through private and public agencies and organizations, have provided the structure for this successful effort.
The Homeless Outcomes Coordinating Council, co-chaired by Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel and Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones is comprised of state agencies, representatives from continua of care and nonprofit providers. The council is charged with implementing the five strategies identified in the Homeless Outcomes Advisory Committee Report and Recommendations. The council maintains the interagency leadership and governance structure that has helped to establish decreasing homelessness as a priority at all levels of state government. It also establishes formal points of contact within state agencies that are providing support or services to citizens who are homeless. Executive and cabinet-level leadership have been critical to the success of the plan so far, as has the willingness of localities to implement and advance best practices and innovative strategies.
“The Homeless Outcomes Coordinating Council has been a leading force at combating homelessness in Virginia,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “We continue to evaluate our efforts and look for new strategies and resources to prevent and end homelessness in the commonwealth.”
The reductions in homelessness have resulted from shifting some state resources from traditional shelter services to rapid re-housing. Additional resources were provided in the FY2014 budget for rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing. Funding through the Freddie Mac Foundation, a partnership between the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and the commonwealth, has also helped transform Virginia’s approach to more effectively address homelessness. This collaborative initiative, in its third year of funding, focuses on rapid re-housing for families and emphasizes the importance of local partnerships to achieve success.
“Virginia’s housing and homeless needs are a major focus for the state,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “By working together and utilizing all of our resources, we are making a difference and continuing to reduce the number of people in Virginia who are homeless.”