RD462 - Virginia’s Homeless Programs 2015-16 Program Year

Executive Summary:
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) administers the Commonwealth of Virginia’s homeless assistance resources (state and federal). These resources include approximately $15.8 million in state and federal annual funding:

• To reduce the number of individuals/households who become homeless;
• To shorten the length of time an individual or household is homeless; and
• To reduce the number of individuals/households that return to homelessness

In the spring of 2015, DHCD released a renewal grant application that combined state and federal funding sources (HUD Emergency Solutions Grant and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS/HIV along with State General Funds for homeless assistance and homeless prevention). In order to apply and receive these funds, communities were required to submit updated community-based applications that outlined a local spending plan where specific activities and grantees were identified. DHCD continued to contract with individual organizations that provide assistance to each community’s homeless crisis response system.

Virginia continues to make substantial progress toward the aforementioned goals. Each year during the last ten days in January, Virginia participates in a national point-in-time (PIT) count to identify the number of homeless persons who are sheltered and unsheltered. This count provides a 24-hour snapshot of those who are homeless in Virginia. The Department of Housing and Community Development collects, aggregates, and analyzes state level PIT data to inform grant making, best practices, and trends across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The 2016 PIT count (*1) on January 27, identified 6268 persons (adults and children) who were homeless. Since 2010, there has been a 31 percent decrease in the number of homeless persons, a 37.6 percent decrease in households with children, and a 51 percent decrease in chronic homeless identified during the PIT count. In addition, since 2011, there has been a 44.6 percent decrease in veteran homelessness with a 53 percent decrease in unsheltered veteran homelessness.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) directly addresses the problems associated with homelessness by administering several funding sources. During the 2015-16 program year DHCD administered the following:

• Child Care for Homeless Children Program (CCHCP)

o A $292,500 block grant to provide child care for homeless children

o 123 children received child care through the program

• Virginia Housing Solutions Program (VHSP)

o A $14.7million grant comprised of State General Funds and HUD Emergency Solution Grant funds

o Eligible activities include homeless prevention, rapid re-housing, emergency shelter, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), coordinated access/entry, and Continuum of Care (CoC)

• Housing Opportunities to Persons with AIDS/HIV (HOPWA)

o $743,273 in federal funds through HUD

o Funding was distributed through seven project sponsors across the state to serve 248 unduplicated households with HIV/AIDS through housing subsidy assistance

o 110 households received supportive services, including case management, transportation, and food assistance

This report serves as a means to report overall conditions and progress made related to the administration of the State’s homeless programs in compliance with HB 30, Budget Item 108 B of Virginia Acts of Assembly, 2016 Chapter 780:

“DHCD must report to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance (SFC), House Appropriations Committees (HAC), and the Director of the Department of Planning and Budget (DPB) on the activities and accomplishments of the State’s homeless programs. Programs subject to the report include emergency shelter beds, transitional housing units, single room occupancy (SRO) dwellings, homeless intervention programs, homeless prevention programs, and the number of homeless individuals supported by permanent housing state funding on a locality and statewide basis and the accomplishments achieved by the additional state funding provided to the program in the first year. The report also addresses other activities including the number of Virginians served by these programs, the costs of the programs, and the financial and in-kind support provided by localities and nonprofit groups in these programs.”
(*1) 2016 PIT count numbers are preliminary