Homelessness up across Virginia, down in Roanoke Valley
ROANOKE, Va. – Homelessness is on the rise in Virginia. Newly released data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found a 3% increase from 2019 to 2020 for those experiencing homelessness on a single night. Nationally, it’s up 2.2%; however, in the Roanoke Valley trends are plunging. “Really focus on who we’re targeting with those resources, I think has really had an impact,” said Roanoke City’s Human Services Administrator Matt Crookshank. Crookshank said that nationally homelessness may spike, but in the Roanoke Valley, it might not be as bad as you’d expect.
Advocacy group aims to end involuntary homelessness by 2035
Ending involuntary homelessness by 2035 is the goal for one advocacy group. On Friday, researchers focused on the factors that go into homelessness, particularly for children. It’s associated with increased secondary educational attainment. It’s associated with prevention of early pregnancy and parenthood,” said Dr. Amy Dworsky with the University of Chicago. According to the group, Times for Homes, a fifth of children live in poverty in America.
‘Blessing Bags’ help Miriam’s House give essentials to less fortunate, collect data on homelessness
LYNCHBURG, Va. – Miriam’s House is distributing ‘blessing bags’ to those who are less fortunate. Sarah Quarantotto, executive director of Miriam’s House, said the blessing bags will benefit those without shelter and the nonprofit organization. (Miriam's House)“This count really informs the federal government on funding decisions [and] what the need is in each community,” said Quarantotto. So, the anticipation of all of us in homeless response is that homelessness will rise over the next few months,” Quarantotto said. Miriam’s House is counting on resources to meet the need.
Some California counties winding down hotels for homeless
But counties say that with some federal relief funding expiring soon or its status uncertain, it's time to transition residents from expensive hotel rooms to cheaper, more stable housing. California is one of several states, including Washington, that turned to hotels to shelter homeless people as the virus took hold. The department has said it plans to move homeless people out of all 29 hotels by June. Russ Heimerich, spokesman with the state's Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency, says counties have resources to continue housing homeless people in hotels. They say hotel residents have flourished with regular checkups and meals.
Housing First: A permanent housing program for the chronically homeless
No rules, no conditions, just a place to live through Housing First, a unique program aimed at helping the chronically homeless find permanent housing with no strings attached. "The shelter system is dangerous and unreliable...people need permanent housing that is not contingent on meeting certain milestones," says Executive Director of the Downtown Emergency Services Center in Seattle (DESC), Daniel Malone. "People deserve time and investment, they deserve something as simple as permanent housing so they can start living." The program has also been shown to have economic incentives for municipalities, proposing that permanent housing for the chronic homeless is more cost effective than paying for their hospital visits, jail time or array of expensive services. "That's just not how it works: people deserve time and investment, they deserve something as simple as permanent housing so they can start living."cbsnews.com