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Valley Supportive Housing

Mission: Valley Supportive Housing’s (VHS) mission is to provide assistance to improve the quality of life for persons with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, or substance abuse.

Community Need: Healthy People 2020 includes neighborhood and built environment as one of the five key areas of social determinants of health and lists housing as a priority. Homeless individuals are more likely to utilize emergency services and they usually do not receive critical follow-up care. Researchers found that medical facilities report longer hospital stays for homeless patients, costing an extra $4,094 for a patient with mental health issues. VSH and Valley Community Services Boards’ (VCSB) internal review reveals the benefits of housing stability on behavioral health. VSH residents had an average of 2.2 visits to psychiatric emergency services prior to leasing their VSH apartment. After they secured permanent housing, the number of psychiatric emergency services dropped significantly to 0.71 times.

Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County need more affordable supportive housing for individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental illnesses and for those recovering from substance abuse. Discussions with the Valley Mission and VCSB reveal an average of 300 individuals per year lack affordable housing. Of the area’s noninstitutionalized population (114,203), 12% have either a cognitive difficulty, self-care difficulty, or an independent living difficulty, compared to the state average of 8.2%. (U.S. Census Bureau). The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health estimates that 5,262 adults in Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, and Highland County suffer from a severe mental illness, and 263 of these people are homeless/at-risk. This area has 12,401 occupied rental units, and 82% of these units rent at $500 plus.  These rent brackets are cost prohibitive for this special needs population.

Constituents Served: VSH serves adults with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, and substance recovery issues who are in need of affordable housing in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. VSH has 24 tenants ages 24-44 (5); 45-54 (5); 55-69 (11); 70+ (3). Indirectly, they impact approximately 100 family and other community members by alleviating the emotional and financial challenges associated with substandard housing or chronic homelessness.

Primary Activities: VSH provides safe, affordable housing for individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness or substance recovery issues. Their tenants are also low-income. They aim to build/renovate at least one building a year, adding 4 to 10 apartments and currently have 24 tenants/apartments. VSH provides a tenant assistance fund to cover the costs of prescriptions, medical needs, and basic apartment furnishings. This fund includes money to pay residents for their work around the VSH properties.

VSH has memorandums of understanding with the Valley Mission and VCSB. VSH is the developer, owner, and property manager for the apartments. VSH develops and implements policies governing the buildings. Valley Mission and VCSB conduct outreach to potential tenants through their service networks and promote tenancy in the VSH units; assist clients with the lease applications; orient new tenants to the services available on and off-site; and refer them to community resources.

Amount Requested: $10,000

Operating Budget: $188,294

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