New Approach to Helping Chronic Homeless

New Approach to Helping Chronic Homeless

County joins "100,000 Homes" effort as chronic homelessness levels rise.

The number of chronically homeless individuals in Fairfax County is on the rise. Currently, nearly 300 individuals are considered chronically homeless, many living in cars or sleeping in tents. In an effort to find permanent homes for these individuals, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness is joining the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national movement to find permanent homes for 100,000 chronically homeless throughout the nation.

"While we have generated some exciting results by rapidly moving families and individuals into housing with services, those experiencing chronic homelessness have been harder to help," said Dean Klein, director of Fairfax County's Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH). The 100,000 Homes movement is designed specifically to help identify and address the needs of those who continuously struggle with finding a safe and consistent place to call home.

"The campaign provides concrete, innovative tools and infrastructure that will help us end homelessness in our community," Klein said.

Klein said that while many may think the chronically homeless don't want to leave the streets, the reality is that the majority of chronically homeless individuals endure serious illness, and physical and mental disability on a daily basis.

"Outreach to this community has shown that many would like to have a home, if all they needed to do was pay rent and be a good tenant," Klein said.

The 100,000 Homes model provides homeless individuals with caring, individually tailored support services at each stage of their journey from homelessness to housed. As of Dec. 10, 2012, the national campaign has already housed 23,151 people, with more than 90 percent of those helped remaining stably housed.

100,000 Homes Fairfax: A Home for All

Fairfax County's local campaign kicks off on Feb. 23 with Registry Week, when volunteers will create a registry, by name and photograph, of everyone experiencing homelessness in the county. The personalized stories about these individuals are designed to help the county and community partners make decisions about how to prioritize and allocate housing and support resources.

"This registry will be a first of its kind for Fairfax, putting a real face on homelessness," Klein said. "Nearly 300 people are chronically homeless in our community. Through this campaign, we anticipate getting half of them in housing in three years."

To help make Registry Week a success, a variety of volunteer opportunities are available. We need your help to make Registry Week a success. To learn more, go to: