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Housing is the fundamental solution to homelessness. However, to be truly successful in solving a problem as complex as homelessness, is to acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every situation. People who experience homelessness come from many different backgrounds, face different barriers, and have different needs. Therefore, no one’s path toward stable housing is the same.

So, how then, can we end homelessness?

In Virginia Beach, we believe that homelessness is a problem that can be solved by:

  • Preventing as many people as possible from becoming homeless
  • Shortening the length of time people experience homelessness
  • Helping people leave homelessness behind for good

In other words, make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring – that is our definition of ending homelessness. Our homeless service system implements proven strategies and best practices to achieve this goal.

Solutions and Best Practices

Housing First

Housing First centers on providing clients with stable housing before satisfying or tackling other conditions. For example, a client is not required to obtain employment, recover from substance abuse, or have income before connecting to a housing opportunity.

This approach, which is the core philosophy of our homeless service system , says that having a stable place to live is the critical platform from which people can take all the additional steps they need to take in their lives. But, without housing, those steps become far more difficult. Housing First is based on evidence gained from studies and promoted and required by our key federal and state funders.

While Housing First is about removing barriers to housing, it does not create more housing.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

Permanent Supportive Housing is often targeted to those with the most severe vulnerabilities, including substance abuse issues, mental illness, and other disabling conditions. Individuals are provided with permanent housing along with intensive service care to support housing stability and independence.

PSH Partners:

  • Virginia Beach Department of Human Services - Behavioral Health Division
  • Department of Veteran Affairs in partnership with Virginia Beach Housing & Neighborhood Preservation (for HUD VASH)
  • Judeo-Christian Outreach Center (JCOC)
  • LGBT Life Center
  • Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation (VBCDC)

Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)

Rapid Re-Housing supports clients through short-term rental assistance and case management. Housing locators appeal to prospective landlords to take part in an RRH program and house clients. Clients receive assistance with paying move-in costs, security deposits, and other costs necessary to obtain rental housing. Case management assists clients with transitioning to independent living.

RRH Partners:

  • JCOC
  • LGBT Life Center
  • Samaritan House
  • STOP Inc.

Other Permanent Housing

Other permanent housing programs are those that do not fall under Permanent Supportive Housing or Rapid Re-Housing models. Clients are permanently housed in various apartment communities and receive help with living independently through intensive case management.

Other Permanent Housing Programs and Partners:

  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program administered by Virginia Beach Housing & Neighborhood Preservation: Clients are housed in the community and provided two years of rental assistance and case management support.
  • Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH): Developed and currently operates six permanent housing apartment communities throughout the South Hampton Roads region.

A housing crisis does not and should not have to lead to homelessness. The primary goal for households in imminent danger of losing their housing, including those who are doubled-up, staying in a hotel, or facing eviction, is to prevent them from becoming homeless. Once someone falls into homelessness, intervention becomes much more difficult and costly.

Based on their needs, eligible households are connected to the appropriate resources to remain stably housed. For example, this may include minimal financial assistance to pay a rental security deposit, rent arrears, case management services, and/or assistance in locating housing. Those who are not eligible are referred to other resources within the community.

Virginia Beach Housing & Neighborhood Preservation’s Homeless Services division and LGBT Life Center provide homelessness prevention services.