County To Offer Greater Access To Services And Shelter For The Homeless

drop-in-35-1024x683Prince William County will soon be able to provide greater access to services and have more emergency shelter space for the homeless. This is the result of the recent Prince William Board of County Supervisors’ vote to spend $500,000 from Fiscal 2015 year-end savings to renovate the Prince William County Human Services Building and relocate the Drop-In Center there.

The Drop-In Center currently operates out of the Bill Mehr Winter Shelter, which provides overnight shelter to the chronically homeless between Nov. 1 and March 31. However, that facility offers little space for potential counseling for the homeless.

The renovation of the human service building, which was once the Prince William County Boys Group Home, will include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant bathrooms, kitchen upgrades to allow for commercial food service, new flooring, paint and a security system.

This project enhances the efficiency in delivering the services it provides to the homeless, which include: medical and dental referrals, behavioral and mental health services, access to federal and state benefits, life skills classes, job and substance abuse counseling, meals, showers and the distribution of daily hygiene items.

Emergency shelter for the homeless, particularly in the winter months, has been a priority for the Board. PWL The renovated facility will provide 15 temporary beds in case of emergency, said Courtney Tierney, the Prince William County Director of Social Services. “It will allow us to have the capacity that — should the winter shelter be full or we need some additional beds for unsheltered homeless — we could provide some emergency services there.”

The Prince William County Department of Social Services was recently approached by HomeAid Northern Virginia, a non-profit organization of builders, to provide support for the project. For planning purposes, Tierney said, the department is estimating that HomeAid may contribute up to $125,000 toward the expansion, which is expected to be completed by next winter.


Read the story in Prince William Living.