Richmond leaders approve changes to help provide more housing for the homeless

Posted at 7:48 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 07:49:18-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- On Monday, the Richmond City Council unanimously approved zoning changes that will allow for new homeless shelters and supportive housing to be built in residential and business zoning areas.

It's something that city leaders said has been in the works for the last few years, as more people are becoming homeless.

Advocates tell the Richmond Times Dispatch that within the last year, there's been nearly a 52% increase in the homeless population in Richmond.

Richmond City Council Member Stephanie Lynch said this new program will help combat those numbers by giving folks resources and housing. It's something areas like Virginia Beach and Washington D.C. have also done.

"They offer job training, employment placement and short-term shelter for folks," Lynch said. "So it really is the concept of a no wrong door, come in, get what you need, get stable and transition on to the next step."

Lynch does not have a specific time on when the program and shelters will be started, but said funding should come soon.