Our mission at Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter is to prevent homelessness by providing temporary shelter and supportive services designed to enable clients to achieve independence.
Since January 1990, hundreds of families have been served by the Prevention Program. The Transitional Housing Program has also served
SHENANDOAH ALLIANCE FOR SHELTER’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
The start of 2013 saw exciting changes for Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter. During the January Board of Directors’ retreat, the Board voted unanimously to transition to a permanent supportive housing facility. This vote reflected the changes the Northern Shenandoah Valley region, the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation as a whole have made to ending homelessness.
Permanent supportive housing is affordable housing combined with supportive services such as counseling, budgeting, case management, employment services, and healthcare. Lack of affordable housing is a major cause of homelessness, especially for our disabled community members living on fixed incomes. Clients living in a permanent supportive housing facility sign a lease and are required to pay 30% of their income toward rent and utilities. Service providers proactively encourage tenants to engage in on-site and community-based supportive services. Each client is matched up to the services that match his or her unique needs, providing the client with tools for self-sufficiency.
Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter is excited to be a part of this initiative to end homelessness. They will be the first agency operating a permanent supportive housing facility in Shenandoah County. Homelessness in rural communities often goes unseen, as there are few areas for the unsheltered to sleep in public view or they are doubled up in unstable housing situations with friends or family. However, the higher rates of poverty coupled with the lack of access to service networks lead to a high rate of homelessness. As Sheila Orndorff, Executive Director of Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter notes, "Homelessness is already in this community. We serve hundreds of people per year and too often these individuals and families are forced to come back to us for services. We now know that there is a better solution to this problem - permanent supportive housing."
Permanent supportive housing targets households that have multiple barriers to employment and housing stability, especially the disabled and chronically homeless. It also targets veterans and other special needs populations. The majority of clients Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter currently serves fall into the target populations for permanent supportive housing. According to the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, permanent supportive housing in rural communities works best when property management and some supportive services are provided by an umbrella organization, which is how Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter will operate.
State and federal funding for transitional housing programs ends with this fiscal year on June 30, 2013. Because renovations for permanent supportive housing will likely be underway until 2015, Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter will become an emergency shelter for families during this transition period. As an emergency shelter, they will continue to provide the same services to the community - the only difference between this and their transitional housing program will be a shorter length of stay for the clients. Throughout all these upcoming changes, Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter will continue to run its interest-free loan program, its hotline service for churches, and its numerous grant-funded programs for the homeless and near-homeless in the region. Those with questions should contact Sheila Orndorff, Executive Director, at 540.436.3202 or email@example.com.