The Challenge     January 2024 Point in Time Count

At any moment, a person can find themselves without a home and in need of
emergency shelter. The loss of a job, an illness, or even an unexpected car repair can
quickly create a financial crisis. In fact, according to Federal Reserve data, 37% of
Americans don’t have the savings to cover an unexpected $400 expense. As of 2022
here in Richmond, more than 19% of our residents had incomes below the poverty
level. During such a crisis, these individuals need somewhere to turn.

The lack of affordable housing only compounds these challenges. A report by the
National Low-Income Housing Coalition found that here in Virginia, there are only 32
affordable and available rental homes for every 100 low-income renters – a number that
continues to drop. The ongoing drop in available, affordable housing has a dual effect: it
pushes more people into the homeless services system while also making it more
difficult for those trying to transition out of the system and into permanent housing.

The causes of homelessness are multifaceted and often intertwined. Mental illness, poor physical health, substance use, chronic poverty, systemic racism, domestic violence, trauma, and adverse childhood experiences often precede the loss of housing. Additionally, as our population ages, health and income challenges can increase, which can precipitate financial hardship and impact housing security.

The Solution

CARITAS is here, and we have friends who are helping, too.

We’re part of a coordinated system called the Greater Richmond’s Continuum of Care which is led by Homeward, and includes street outreach, diversion efforts, emergency shelters, financial housing supports like rapid re-housing, permanent supportive housing
and more. Our partners include Housing Families First, HomeAgain, Virginia Supportive Housing, and the Salvation Army.

This continuum not only increases the shelter options that individuals can access, but this partnership also streamlines the process and helps to coordinate different providers to ensure services align with the evolving needs of the community.

CARITAS is the largest provider of 24/7 shelter and recovery services in the Richmond region, maintaining the longest-running adult shelter in the area. For nearly 40 years, our low-barrier shelter has served some of the highest-need clients experiencing chronic homelessness. The hard work of volunteers, case managers, and partner agencies helps our shelter guests find not only the necessities for survival, but discover tools for success. Participants get the help they need to get off the street, back on their feet, and on the path to self-sufficiency.

The Process

While we stand ready to meet people where they are, we believe emergency shelter should be the last option. Through our diversion efforts, the region-wide continuum of care seeks to step in before someone loses housing. If you are 3 days or less away from losing housing or are already experiencing homelessness, we ask that you call the Homeless Connection Line at 804-972-0813.
If you don’t have access to a phone, there are multiple connection and access points across the Richmond Region. Homeward has provided a full list of these locations here.

It’s important to note that the Homeless Connection Line is not a hotline, and is not monitored around the clock. For that reason, it’s important to leave a message. Those who call the Homeless Connection Line, depending on their needs, will be placed
on a waitlist where priority is determined daily, based on a variety of factors, including length of homelessness, age, medical conditions, etc. This waitlist isn’t unique to CARITAS, but is instead maintained by the entire regional system to determine the best, quickest, and safest place for an individual to access emergency shelter.

The City of Richmond also operates an inclement weather shelter at 1900 Chamberlayne Avenue.

homeless shelter Richmond Virginia Our Success

Our goal is to offer our neighbors a safe bridge between a moment of crisis and a pathway to self sufficiency. In 2023, we welcomed 510 men and women into our Emergency Shelter for a total of 15,639 nights of shelter. Through our case management in the CARITAS Shelter, we helped 99 people transition to stable housing in 2023. It takes nearly 20 hours of staff time to help someone find a home.

While CARITAS is proud of this success and remains committed to serving those in our community in need of emergency shelter, there are a variety of organizations that are part of the region-wide partnership that also provide different emergency shelter programs depending on need, location, and other factors.

The same list linked above that features the different access and connection points also
includes a list of different shelter providers. Review it here.

Learn More and Get Involved

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