Amount Requested: $7,500 for Initial Housing Support
Mission: The Valley Mission is a non-profit organization offering shelter, support, and hope to the homeless. Although the majority of clients are from Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro, those who seek help from Valley Mission hail from throughout the state of Virginia, and at times, from well beyond the state border. Basic needs of shelter, food, clothing and spiritual encouragement are provided to all. The Valley Mission, with thirty-five paid staff members and approximately 1500 volunteers per year, provides temporary housing and proactively works with residents to obtain permanent, affordable housing for themselves and their families.
Constituents Served: Our rules for admittance into the shelter are simple—individuals cannot have a criminal history of sexual crimes or be a violent offender. All residents are made aware that they are subject to random urine drug screening and failure of screen or compliance with screen can result in being asked to vacate. All residents are eligible to receive program services including Case Management, Individual Counseling, Job Readiness and Assessment Services, Anger Management Services, Parenting Classes, Afterschool Program Services, and Spiritual Counseling. The Valley Mission continually seeks options to meet the needs of all individuals that are homeless. In 2015, the Valley Mission housed an average of 72 persons per night, 38% of whom were women and children. During 2015, the Mission served 55,865 hot meals, 10% of which were served to needy community members. There were also 25,644 bed nights provided, 5,962 of which were for children ranging in age from birth to 18 years of age. The Mission delivers services to 600 or more individuals through the residential and day case management programs during the year. All clients are below the Federal Poverty Level.
Program Overview: The Always Seek Knowledge (ASK) Program, which encompasses education, mental health, financial health, legal services, and job skills training, is provided to each Mission resident depending on their needs. These life skills courses, which are a mandated part of each resident’s case management plan, range from twice weekly mental health counseling services to financial management, and are assigned based on an entry assessment by case managers. Financial donations to any component of the ASK Program are always needed.
One important component of the ASK Program is rehousing. Once residents are ready to leave the Valley Mission, many require initial housing support. Evidence shows that obtaining housing results in a faster pathway towards self-sufficiency and ultimately results in cost savings for taxpayers. The longer a person remains homeless, the higher the rates of emergency services, potential incarceration, and untreated chronic health issues. Funds from the Community Foundation would be used in this program to pay the first month’s rent, hook up utilities, and provide a rental deposit. This would allow clients a grace period to achieve some level of stability. The Valley Mission also has a new collaborative agreement with the Waynesboro Redevelopment and Housing Authority to facilitate rapid, affordable, and appropriate housing for the homeless in our community. This partnership will assist in providing housing solutions, particularly for residents who would benefit from Rapid Rehousing, which takes clients who are more likely to be successful and places them in housing within 30 days of entering a shelter. These are clients who are already working or clients who are experiencing temporary homelessness due to situations beyond their control (house fires, evictions due to unsafe housing conditions, etc.).
Current Operating Budget: $1,138,500
Program Budget: $164,560