City and Community Leaders Celebrate Historic Groundbreaking for Housing Resource Center

Monday, October 17, 2016

The City of Virginia Beach has joined local community leaders in celebrating the groundbreaking for the Housing Resource Center at 104 N. Witchduck Road. The center will provide efficiency apartments, family and single shelters, supportive services, a health clinic and other community resources in one facility, making it the first of its kind in the region.

During the ceremony last week, Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr., led city and project leaders in planting a tree, which is the symbol for the center. The event and official launch of construction was capped off with the mayor driving a jackhammer into the concrete.

"When we think of a sturdy tree, we think of protection, shelter and security — the same qualities that a stable home shares," Sessoms said. "A safe, stable home is critical to providing the foundation for families and individuals to thrive and succeed. That's why the City Council first authorized the purchase of this site for the Housing Resource Center and committed nearly $30 million dollars to build the facility."

More than 100 homeless individuals and family members at a time will have shelter or a permanent home at the Housing Resource Center. It will include a 40-bed short-term shelter for families with children, 40 shelter beds for single adults, seven respite care beds to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and 30 affordable efficiency apartments. The center will provide expanded day services, classrooms and meeting rooms for city agencies and community organizations. The third floor will be dedicated office space for the Departments of Human Services and Housing and Neighborhood Preservation. Job readiness and training classes will also be available to help families and individuals prevent or overcome homelessness.

"The Housing Resource Center will be a big enhancement to our efforts to end and prevent homelessness," Sessoms said. "Our community, working through the Housing Resource Center, will be able to better focus and coordinate all its good work to lift people from homelessness and give them a real opportunity to put down roots of their own."

The center will replace and expand upon the services offered at the Lighthouse Center, a gathering place for homeless people at the Oceanfront that provides laundry, showers and other essential services.

The City Council authorized the purchase of the Witchduck Road site in 2012 and approved construction funding for the center in the FY 2015-16 budget. Council also approved the rezoning and use permit for the facility last year.

The Housing Resource Center was designed by Waller, Todd and Sadler Architects and will be constructed by S.B. Ballard Construction Company. The center is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

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