Virginia Beach adopts new plan to curb homelessness

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Leaders in Virginia Beach are taking a new approach to combat homelessness in the city.

Tuesday, council unanimously adopted the “Community Of One” plan as part of the consent agenda.

The plan is an updated version of the city’s “Strategic Plan to End Homelessness,” adopted by council in October of 2013.

“Our goal for the plan is to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring,” said Andrew Friedman, the city’s Director of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation.

His department crafted the plan, which outlines “a path toward a future where everyone in Virginia Beach will be able to live in safe, decent, and affordable housing.”

At the center, its goal is to unite the city’s shelters, religious groups, non-profits and any other agency with an interest in curbing homelessness.

One of the partners is the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center. Executive Director Todd Walker says “coordinated assessment” is at the core of the approach.

In the city, homeless individuals and families are encouraged to call the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline at (757) – 227 – 5932, at which point they are assessed and sent to the appropriate shelter, or provided with the best resources suited for their situation.

“So basically, everybody’s resources are being shared all together,” Walker explained.

A large piece of the updated plan is the upcoming launch of a new Housing Resource Center, currently under construction on North Witchduck Road, near Southern Boulevard.

Friedman said the center will provide a new shelter space for single people and families as well as a day services center and resources like job training.

He adds “it will be a central point of focus for volunteers and faith organizations that want to come and help people get out of homelessness.”

Leaders told 10 On Your Side that homelessness remains a problem in the city, but it’s steadily declining due to preexisting efforts.

The Housing Resource Center is set to open in Spring 2018.