On Tuesday, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors accepted, budgeted and appropriated $324,534 from state and federal grants and $300,000 from Affordable Housing Proffer Funds for housing the homeless during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the County’s Director of the Department of Social Services, Courtney Tierney, the department will use $189,000 of the funding to initiate its Homeless Crisis Response Plan. The plan provides non-congregate care sheltering by using motels to house the homeless that meet one of the following criteria: have tested positive for COVID-19 and need to be isolated, but not hospitalized; have been exposed to COVID-19 and need to be quarantined; have underlying health conditions that place them at high risk for the virus, or are 60 years or older. The plan is based on the successful model from King County, Washington.
Tierney said the local homeless service providers of ACTS, Northern Virginia Family Services and the Streetlight Community Outreach Ministry, who are also part of the County’s Homeless Crisis Response Plan will receive an additional $9,000. Also, the Prince William Area Agency on Aging received $135,534 in federal funding from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This funding is to assist those 60 years and older during the pandemic. Of the available funding, Social Services will use $100,000 for homeless services. Another $10,000 will go to ACTS for the telephone reassurance program, Senior Link, which provides regular calls to seniors who live alone to check on their safety and wellbeing. The remainder of the funding is used for food and other services.
Additionally, the Board approved budgeting and appropriating another $300,000 from the affordable housing proffer funds for emergency sheltering. The money is for one-time use and requires no local tax support, Tierney said. Tierney told the Board that approximately 40 percent of the homeless will need help with social distancing and have underlying conditions. Additionally, 40 percent will need direct help as a result of COVID-19.
Several County departments are working together on the Homeless Crisis Response Plan, to include the County’s human services agencies, Technology, Finance, Economic Development, Police, Parks, Public Works and the Emergency Operations Center. Area hospitals, the Prince William Health District, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, non-profit organizations, PRTC and the GMU MAP clinic are also aiding the effort, Tierney said. The groups are working together to address hotel/motel lodging, transportation, food, security, laundry, pets, storage, cleaning, intake and case management.