Homeless Numbers Down in Charlottesville, Across State
Governor Bob McDonnell is praising efforts to reduce the number of homeless people statewide and those efforts are making a difference in our area.
While the numbers here in Charlottesville don't match up exactly to the state figures, they have gone down - especially over the last year.
"For the first time in a long time we did see a decrease and PACEM saw fewer people in our shelters," said Colleen Keller, executive director of PACEM, or People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry.
There has been a decrease in homelessness in Charlottesville for the first time in years, much of it attributed to rapid re-housing programs and permanent supportive housing, such as The Crossings, all written out in McDonnell's housing policy.
"We made progress also transforming the homeless services delivery system by getting more people quickly into permanent housing and rapid re-housing and also maintaining that safety net of emergency shelters," McDonnell announced Monday.
McDonnell said overall homelessness in the commonwealth has declined 16 percent from 2010 to 2013, and numbers in Charlottesville reflect that trend. The number of homeless adults in the city has remained around 200 for the last 10 years, but last year there was a 12 percent decrease.
"It's not easy but I think it's coming and you'll see another decrease we hope in the next year. That's the commitment," Keller said.
Those working to bring those numbers down say the homeless population in the city is manageable - but it takes time and commitment to get it under control.
"People will always become homeless, but if you became homeless briefly and came to PACEM for two weeks and then moved on, I think that would be something we could all live with," Keller said.
Keller says affordable housing also plays a large role in keeping people off the streets.
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