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The man who police shot near the Red Roof Inn in Charlottesville on Monday morning has died. His name was Billy Sites. The Daily Progress has a story that covers some of the circumstances around the shooting, including a witness account of the police attempt to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.

According to police, Sites fired multiple shots while officers pursued him. Police cornered Sites near the Red Roof Inn and shot him when they say he pointed the gun at them. A witness to the shooting told the Daily Progress that Sites “kept putting the gun to his head” during the encounter and said, “I’m going to be homeless anyway. I don’t fucking matter.”

Sites’ criminal history includes a sexual battery charge when he was a minor and various theft and drug charges as an adult.

We’ll continue tracking the circumstances of the shooting, sharing others and our own reporting to help keep you informed. If you have questions or tips, please contact us here.

A hall with mats, cots and folding chairs, with people's belongings and backpacks.
Credit: Kori Price/Charlottesville Tomorrow

Charlottesville’s homeless shelter staff say demand for beds this winter is double what they can accommodate

The rest of today’s newsletter is about homelessness. With an unseasonably warm winter, our area homeless shelter staff expected to have fewer people seeking shelter. But, for some reason, that’s not been the case this year. On any given night, demand for emergency beds is about double what shelters can comfortably accommodate. They can comfortably accommodate about 100 people.

Shelter workers say there are many reasons more people might be seeking shelter this year. One is that inflation is making it difficult for people who earn low incomes to afford their homes. Another is that most federal COVID-19 relief programs are over, which means landlords are allowed to evict and the additional food assistance the government was offering is gone.

At the Salvation Army, Brenda Smith says she’s suddenly meeting lots of people who have recently moved to Charlottesville because they “heard jobs are plentiful here.” Shelters report seeing increased drug usage among their guests, and far more women than they’ve ever seen before.

Charlottesville’s homeless service organizations have plans to add more shelter beds. The Salvation Army is going to massively renovate its shelter, doubling its capacity from 50 beds to 100. You can read more about that project in this NCB29 article

A man sits in a seat that couples as a walker in front of a red door with the numbers 312 behind him.
Credit: Credit: Ézé Amos/Charlottesville Tomorrow

When this Charlottesville shelter closes next year, its 100 elderly and seriously ill guests might have nowhere to go

Also on the horizon, Virginia Supportive Housing and Piedmont Housing Alliance will soon build 150 apartments for people and families who earn low incomes. The trouble with that project, as we discovered last year, is that those apartments will be built at the old Red Carpet Inn on Route 29, which is currently where the People And Congregations Engaged in Ministries (PACEM) is running an emergency shelter for people who are elderly or seriously ill and homeless. That shelter is no longer accepting new residents and staff are working hard to find permanent housing for its existing guests.

We’ll have an update on that situation this spring.

Thanks for reading,

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.