For some New River Valley families, homeless is a way of life. These families move frequently, and many are doubled-up in overcrowded apartments with relatives or friends. Others sleep in cars and campgrounds or send their children to stay with relatives to avoid shelter life.
In 2013, more than 7,000 Virginians did not have a place to call home, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Through a donation to the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign, Virginia Tech employees can help local families who are struggling to maintain safe, affordable, and stable housing. All donations designated to New River Community Action, Inc. are used to fund a variety of programs, including the homeless and housing program.
The non-profit organization’s homeless prevention program provides time limited financial assistance to eligible people in the New River Valley who are homeless or are in imminent danger of becoming homeless. Recipients of these grants must be in temporary financial crisis due to unavoidable circumstances and have been self-sufficient prior to the crisis.
New River Community Action, Inc. has staff members in every jurisdiction of the New River Valley to assist low-income families who are homeless, or in danger of becoming homeless. In 2013, the program served 135 families (281 individuals).
That number is expected to increase significantly in 2014, according to Program Coordinator Lisa Yost.
In addition to financial assistance, the program also provides resources such as homeowner education and housing counseling. A housing counselor, together with the approved applicant, develops short-term goals which will be monitored during the course of the assistance and revised as necessary.
Family homelessness is caused by the combined effects of lack of affordable housing, unemployment, limited access to resources and supports, health and mental health challenges, the challenges of raising children as a single parent, and sometimes, experiences of violence. It is a devastating experience that significantly impacts the health and well-being of adults and children.
“Our program is focused on a hand up, not a hand-out,” said Yost. “Our goal is to reduce the number of times they need assistance by helping them improve their overall housing situation.”
Please consider donating to any of the 1,000 charities participating in this year’s Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign. The online CVC Pledge System enables salaried Virginia Tech employees to make fast, easy, and secure donations via payroll deduction. All donations are tax deductible, as allowed by law.
First published on December 2, 2014.
Written by Employee Communications Manager Laura Neff-Henderson.
About New River Community Action, Inc.
Since it was established in 1965, New River Community Action, Inc. has developed a variety of programs that reduce and prevent poverty and empower low-income individuals and families in the New River Valley to become full self-sufficient.