RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Terry McAuliffe today announced that overall homelessness in the Commonwealth declined 10.5 percent in 2016 versus 2015, with a 17 percent decrease in family homelessness in the same period. In addition, more than $14.7 million was recently awarded in Virginia Homeless Solutions Program (VHSP) grants to combat homelessness in Virginia. The new preliminary numbers originate from an annual point in time data collected by local Continuum of Care groups across Virginia in January each year and compiled by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
“Virginia is leading the fight to end homelessness by expanding access to safe, affordable housing for families who need it,” McAuliffe said, speaking at Wednesday’s announcement. “Last year, I announced that Virginia was the first state to effectively end veteran homelessness and vowed to work to make all forms of homelessness in Virginia rare, brief, and non-recurring. These new numbers show that we are moving in the right direction and demonstrate the success of our collaboration between local, state, and federal organizations. Moving forward, we will continue to invest in our successful housing programs and partnerships, as we work to end chronic homelessness and homelessness among youth and families altogether in Virginia.”
“Virginia’s success comes from a collaborative and holistic approach to addressing homelessness throughout the Commonwealth,” added Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “By working together across multiple secretariats, state agencies, and care and nonprofit providers at the local level, we are utilizing all available resources to combat homelessness. Housing is the foundation for any vibrant and sustainable community, and the new VHSP grants will be a valuable tool in our efforts to ensure every citizen has access to quality and affordable housing.”
“The housing first model approach has been a successful model for Virginia,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel. “We continue to see homelessness decrease across the commonwealth, and we will continue to streamline our systems to get homeless populations housed quickly and safely.”
Since 2010, Virginia has seen a 31 percent drop in overall homelessness. During that same time period, the Commonwealth has seen a 37.6 percent decrease in family homelessness. In 2015, Virginia became the first state to functionally end veteran homelessness. This success stems from new efforts in communities to improve their homelessness response rate and housing assistance systems. By using proven tools to address the needs of individuals, families, and veterans experiencing homelessness and incorporating housing first models, such as rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing, communities have streamlined their systems in order to help any Virginian experiencing homelessness quickly secure permanent housing.Find 8News on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.