RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney held a virtual press briefing on Friday at 1:00 p.m. to announce plans for sheltering people experiencing homelessness this weekend as temperatures drop.

The weather team at 8News predicts temperatures will be in the 40s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

Stoney began the briefing by stating he had “two firm beliefs” when it comes to housing accessibility. He said he believes housing is a human right and housing is a vaccine for poverty.

The mayor’s plan for providing shelter this weekend is to work with the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care to place people in either non-congregate housing or COVID-19 suitable congregate housing. The City of Richmond is a funding partner of the organization and Stoney says they have been working with the city for years to provide support.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the city and the organization have worked to shelter families in hotel rooms instead of single building spaces. Stoney said last week there were 45 families sheltered in hotel rooms. He says that the city has been able to fund the housing of 790 individuals in private hotel rooms.

The mayor explains that when people receive housing assistance it becomes “an entry point into a pipeline of support.”

Richmonders who accept a hotel room will their own private space as well as three meals delivered to them each day. Partners within the continuum of care will also work to provide a network of supports such as job training, substance abuse counseling and help with housing stability.

People experiencing homelessness can request assistance through the Homeless Crisis Line at 804-972-0813. Those without access to a phone can visit any of the city’s Connection Point Network spaces. These spaces are indoor locations that allow people to either use the crisis line or be directly connected with a case worker. Stoney says the locations are expanding and are “known on the street.”

Locations in the City of Richmond include:

  • RVA Light – 504 W Broad St.
  • REAL Life – 406 E Main St.
  • OAR of Richmond – 3111 W Clay St.
  • Main Branch of the Richmond Public Library – 101 E Franklin St.
  • Southside Plaza – 4100 Hull Street Rd.

The mayor says these resources are expanding and this weekend will be a pilot of that expansion. Crisis line hours will be extended this weekend and connection point network spaces will be available.

“We will do everything we can to ensure that we can provide shelter for those who are in need,” Stoney said.