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Tuesday, March 14, 2023
In the Charlottesville area, there is one place people who are elderly or critically ill can stay if they have no place to live. It’s called Premier Circle, and it’s a homeless shelter run out of the old and fast deteriorating Red Carpet Inn. Local homeless service organizations opened it in May 2021 to offer shelter to people who were most vulnerable to COVID-19.
What they quickly learned was that this was not a pandemic-specific issue. There have been — and still are — people in this area who are very sick and homeless. This shelter saved the lives of some. For others, it provided a place to have a more peaceful death.
But Premier Circle was only ever meant to be temporary. And, come June, it will close.
When this Charlottesville shelter closes next year, its 100 elderly and seriously ill guests might have nowhere to go
The need for this kind of shelter hasn’t gone away. The shelter workers who ran Premier Circle say they’d love to open a permanent shelter of this kind. But, there are no plans — and no reasonable hope of there being plans anytime soon.
The Premier Circle shelter will be replaced by 140 apartments that will be given to some of the area’s poorest residents. The nonprofits that are building the apartments will also offer the residents there with on-site support services, like mental health and substance abuse counseling or vocational and employment support.
Charlottesville’s only homeless shelter for elderly and seriously ill people is about to close, but construction of the housing that will go up in its place has been postponed
It’s possible that people who qualify for the shelter might receive an apartment — though they’ll have to wait to apply. Construction has been postponed at least a year. Virginia Supportive Housing was due to begin construction on 80 units this spring. But a pre-construction estimate came in at $24 million — $3.6 million over budget — in part because of extraordinary increases in construction and materials costs since the project was first planned two years ago. The non-profit organization is going to have to raise that additional $3.6 million from grants and donors.
Thanks for reading,
Jessie Higgins, managing editor
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