New Hope Housing & Bailey’s Shelter
Supportive Housing Needed Now More than Ever
By: Jan Sacharko, New Hope Housing
Everything changed at Bailey’s when the coronavirus pandemic began this year. When the outbreak began, there were two important questions to answer for homeless people and the services we provide: 1) How do you stay safe-at-home when you don’t have a home? And 2) How do you socially distance in a full homeless shelter?
In Fairfax County, county and nonprofit leaders convened to create action plans. Using CARES Act funding and shared resources, Fairfax County began master-leasing several vacant hotels to be used as additional shelter sites with nonprofit partners responsible for staffing and managing these programs. Once these opened, half of the guests in each shelter in the county moved to these hotels. Priority was given to older homeless guests and guests with certain medical conditions so that they could safely isolate in hotel rooms. Shelter staff have continued to provide case management services such as housing and employment services to guests at the hotel sites to enable them to move to safe and affordable housing. These sites are also serving as isolation and quarantine shelter for non-homeless people who have been exposed to COVID and cannot safely quarantine otherwise. These sites are expected to remain open at least through June 30, 2021. More than 900 people have used these sites since opening in mid-April.
The current Bailey’s Shelter Director, Raynel Hines, had only begun working at the shelter on March 2nd, 2020, days before the initial nationwide shutdown due to the pandemic. The following week, New Hope Housing suspended all on-site volunteer activities in order to limit the number of people at the shelter. Many volunteers continued to serve in new ways, and dozens of new volunteers signed up, too. Groups and individuals were preparing hot meals or ordering catered meals from local struggling restaurants. Some volunteers began to provide mentoring services or host game nights through Zoom. The Hypo program has been altered across Fairfax County as well.
This year, one county-owned building in each region has been designated as sole location for the hypothermia prevention shelter rather than rotating through faith communities. The Lincolnia Senior Center at 4710 North Chambliss St. is the location for Region 2. This location is now open and serving guests. Meals are being donated by community groups and individuals. The site has limited capacity due to social distancing but accommodations will be made to ensure that everyone has access to shelter. Anyone in need of emergency shelter this winter should access the Fairfax County site here: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/homeless/hypothermia-prevention-program
The development of the new Bailey’s Shelter and Supportive Housing was listed as a highlight of the Fairfax County Ten Year Plan To End Homelessness retrospective report produced in 2018. While Fairfax County reduced its homeless population by nearly 50% over the ten-year period 2008-2018, there were many challenges to meet the ambitious goal. Chief among them was the lack of affordable housing. Local budget cutbacks due to the recession in 2010, and reduced federal funding due to sequestration in 2013 hampered the ability to create more affordable units.
“We were proud to have been accepted as the nonprofit partner at Bailey’s Shelter and Supportive Housing three years ago, and I’m proud of my staff for the work they’ve done to adapt to changing needs due to COVID,” shared Pamela L. Michell, executive director of New Hope Housing. “We miss seeing the faces of our volunteers, but we see the impact of their service daily and look forward to when Bailey’s can be an open and welcoming community service site again.”
New Hope Housing is an innovative nonprofit agency providing shelter, transitional and permanent supportive housing, outreach and support services for homeless families and single adults in Fairfax County, City of Alexandria, Arlington County, and City of Falls Church. Founded in 1977 on Route One, New Hope Housing is committed to finding creative and lasting solutions to end the cycle of homelessness by offering homeless men, women and children the services they need to change their lives and succeed. For more information, visit www.newhopehousing.orgThere are many ways to volunteer and serve your homeless neighbors. Please contact Kelley McKeon at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Catered meals from Subway
(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)