City re-launches hotline, enhances services for those facing housing crises

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The City of Virginia Beach on Friday re-launched its hotline for emergency housing and homeless services.

Citizens who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes should call the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline at (757) 227-5932, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The new call center, previously known as Connection Point, will continue to be the single point of contact to streamline the homeless referral and assessment process. Families and individuals who are homeless will be connected with case managers with the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation and assessed for shelter, transitional housing and permanent housing programs based on their individual circumstances.

The Lighthouse Center, at 82518th St., now offers additional services for Virginia Beach's homeless population. (Photo courtesy of The Lighthous Center)

The Lighthouse Center has added new services for Virginia Beach’s homeless population. (Photo courtesy of The Lighthouse Center)

Those who are at risk of losing their homes will be assessed for financial assistance or other safe and appropriate alternatives to prevent homelessness.

ForKids, a nonprofit organization based in Norfolk that serves homeless families and children, is the new provider operating the Virginia Beach call center under a contract with the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation.

ForKids also operates the housing crisis hotline for the City of Norfolk and Peninsula cities.

Virginia Beach also has enhanced its day support services for homeless individuals provided at the Lighthouse Center at 825 18th St. In addition to offering showers, laundry and mail delivery services, an assessment team now will be available at the center to refer and connect individuals directly to housing programs.

“We will now have our Homeless Outreach Team and new homeless case managers onsite to engage individuals and assess them for shelter, transitional housing or permanent supportive housing programs,” said Pam Shine, homeless programs coordinator with the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone who walks through the door to access services has a housing plan.”

Individuals also will be able to access services provided by a variety of other organizations, including the Department of Human Services, Veterans Affairs, employment agencies and support groups.

Volunteers of America, a faith-based nonprofit group that provides health and human services, has operated day support services at the Lighthouse Center since it opened in 1997. Effective July 1, Virginia Beach’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation has begun operating those services.

Department Director Andrew Friedman praised Volunteers of America and Debbie Maloney, executive director of the Lighthouse Center,  for their services as “valuable partners in our community-wide effort to address homelessness in Virginia Beach.”

Volunteers of American “has connected hundreds of individuals to various resources to help them overcome their homelessness,” Freidman said. “And we hope to build upon this foundation by incorporating best practices and a housing-first approach in order to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring for even more individuals.”

The day support service center is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Day support services are available until 3 p.m. each day.

For more information, call the center at (757) 437-4911.

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City re-launches hotline, enhances services for those facing housing crises