As a result of public input and city review, the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation will present an updated design concept for the Housing Resource Center at a public meeting on Wednesday, June 18, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Academy, 5100 Cleveland St.
The city received comments at a public meeting on May 21 and through the city’s Virtual Town Hall forum, which opened on May 23. After the June 18 meeting, citizens will still be able to comment on the updated design concept until 5 p.m. on June 23 at www.vbgov.com/virtualtownhall.
In February, the city contracted with Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects for the formal design of the Housing Resource Center, to be located at 104 N. Witchduck Road. The Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation worked with city agencies, service providers, the faith community and other stakeholders to determine the types of facilities to be offered at the center. This process also included a design charrette May 6 to 9 and the May 21 public meeting.
A Housing Resource Center is part of our community plan to do a better job of ending homelessness and to:
* Meet federal requirements -- Each year more than $1 million is granted through the Continuum of Care to Virginia Beach agencies that provide emergency housing and services to the homeless. Almost all of these funds go directly to nonprofit providers. In order to continue receiving federal funding, the city needs to provide a location for central intake or coordinated services. Our current system does not have this key feature.
* Expand services being offered at the Lighthouse Center to include families -- Since 1997, the Lighthouse Center, currently located at 18th Street and Washington Avenue near the Virginia Beach Convention Center, has provided day services for the single homeless and serves as a gathering point for the Winter Shelter Program. Since 2008, the city has been looking to relocate and expand the Lighthouse Center because it lacks adequate space even for its current mission and does not serve families. It also does not provide a location for central intake or coordinated services.
* Provide new shelter or permanent housing options that reduce and shorten homelessness -- The proposed design includes short-term shelter for up to 15 families with children (or 60 beds), 32 shelter beds for single adults with a minimum of 20 units of affordable efficiency apartments, for a current total of 112 beds.
* Consolidate essential social services into a “one-stop-shop” that includes a central reception and assessment center, and critical services to help prevent and end homelessness -- In addition to central intake, the proposed design also provides space for day services and access to social services, a health clinic and learning center that the public could also use.
For more information, please contact Karen Prochilo, housing development administrator, at (757) 385-5803 or visit www.vbgov.com/housing-resource-center.