The system to access homeless services may be a bit difficult to understand. A lot of people ask us: Can people go straight to a HomeAgain shelter? What is a referral? Who should I call?… And as homeless services continue to adapt to the needs of its population, the services and process evolve, too. Here in Richmond, we have the collaborative effort of several agencies as part of the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care to create better access to services and make special emphasis on the most vulnerable.
This means that accessing services should be easy and convenient regardless of each individual’s situation. Our community sustains regular conversations about homelessness prevention and emergency solutions. In the past, these resources were scattered and difficult to find all at once, but today we are joining efforts to distill these resources and streamline them effectively to prevent a housing crisis or to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring.
In addition to the work we do daily, our volunteers and supporters can also help us connect individuals with services. Here are some ways you can support someone in housing crisis:
1.- Early in the process, assess if there is a way to prevent the imminent loss of their home. Prevention resources are available through the Housing Crisis Line and dialing 2-1-1.
2.- If literally homeless, the individual can contact the Housing Crisis Line (804-972 0813) for a shelter referral and be connected with a case manager.
3.- If the person or family you are trying to connect to services does not have access to a phone, our community is working on connection points to allow people to access phones and charging facilities for their own devices if necessary. Currently, the Richmond Public Library can serve as one of these points.
4.- Support these housing programs by becoming a volunteer or donating. Donating $25 can help one of our clients obtain legal documents and $50 can help them with their apartment application fee.
We will keep our community up-to-date with the most recent changes happening in homeless services. Our goal by making access to shelter referrals more efficient is to reduce the length of time to wait for a referral to services. Connecting individuals and families faster to get them into safe and affordable permanent housing as soon a possible.
If you have any questions about supporting the homeless and our community, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org