Homelessness has hit more locals than usual this winter.
The 65-bed emergency shelter run by People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry is operating at maximum capacity, and those who cannot go anywhere else are staying out of the cold in couches and chairs in the “warm room” of the Charlottesville Salvation Army.
“That’s a tough lot to not be able to provide a shelter bed for everybody who is asking for one,” said Anthony Haro, executive director of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless.
“It does seem to be part of a trend at this point, and it points to the need for a permanent solution because increasing our shelter capacity isn’t something that I’m satisfied with.”
Haro and the Housing Advisory Committee have developed a tool for estimating how much it would cost to solve the city’s housing crisis, including local homelessness.
HAC members are calling their spreadsheet, which crunches costs based on a variety of factors and scenarios, an Intervention Analysis Tool.
The HAC is presenting the tool to the Charlottesville City Council and asking for feedback Wednesday in the first of six work sessions on housing strategy.
“First, we’re going to look at what costs look like — this type of intervention versus this type of intervention versus this type of intervention — over time instead of having council try to address things by, ‘Here comes a funding request,’” said HAC Chairman Phil d’Oronzio.
The tool incorporates solutions for the full range of housing needs, such as families wanting to buy a home and not being able to afford one locally or individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
Tevin Rogers said that he has been homeless off and on for four years. He currently is staying in the Salvation Army’s 58-bed shelter with his wife, but he is hoping that Region Ten Community Services Board has found him an apartment.
“Being homeless is a whole new experience for my wife. She’s stressed about it, because she doesn’t think we’ll get off the streets [soon], but I keep telling her, ‘Baby, just stay positive.’ That’s all you can do,” Rogers said.
The City Council work session with the Housing Advisory Committee is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. in the Water Street Conference Center at 407 E. Water St.