Richmond leaders are hoping to address the need for more emergency homeless shelters

Posted at 6:46 AM, Apr 13, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Over the past year, the number of unsheltered Richmonders has continued to climb.

New data from Homeward reveals the cost of housing and low rental vacancy rates are to blame.

That same report shows about 690 people in the Richmond area currently experiencing homelessness. There's also been a 121% increase in the number of people staying in unsheltered conditions.

Thursday, the city's Education and Human Services Standing Committee will provide an update on how they're working to ensure people have a roof over their head during the worst weather conditions.

This past winter, shelters at the Richmond Inn Hotel, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, RVA Sisters Keepers and United Nations Church served an average of 30 to 60 people per day.

Richmond was unable to open a fifth shelter at Fifth Street Baptist Church, and according to a presentation by the Department of Housing and Community Development that will be explained at Thursday's meeting, that could be because the city was unable to acquire a special use permit for the location.

This year, the department hopes to add a minimum of 50 permanent shelter beds in the region that will be available 24/7.

They also hope to have at least 150 beds available for this winter, and they plan to spend the spring selecting those locations.

Meanwhile, all of the city's Inclement Weather Shelter sites will close on Saturday, April 15.

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