Homelessness in Our Community: Q&A With NVFS Shelter Directors

How NVFS is helping homeless clients in the community — and how you can get involved.

At NVFS’ three shelters in the past fiscal year — SERVE, Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center and Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter (BCCS) — 85 percent or more of clients did not return to homelessness, meaning that they can now focus on not just surviving, but thriving.

How do NVFS shelters help families and individuals become rapidly and permanently housed?

“We help individuals become rapidly and permanently housed by offering emergency shelter so that clients are able to become stable while they receive case management and housing coordination services.” – former BCCS Shelter Director Edwina Jackson

“Providing [shelter] and meals…allows individuals to focus on next steps and take advantage of the programs the shelter offers to assist them in their efforts.” – SERVE Shelter Director Deb Rapone

“We work with our families and single men and women to re-house them as soon as possible. We assess their barriers to housing and try to address those barriers head-on by working closely with all of our clients and providing them with the right resources. For example: our housing locator meets with property managers and private landlords to help clients get affordable housing. The housing locator also informs clients about the do’s and don’ts of renting, renters’ rights and their lease agreement.” – former Hilda Barg Shelter Director Minerva Labrador

What is one thing you wish more people in our community knew about homelessness?

“It can happen to any of us. A loss of employment, a reduced work schedule, mental health concerns, or a health crisis.” – Minerva

“I wish people knew how homelessness affects us all, no matter who you are or where you live.” – Edwina

“[Homeless individuals] are not bad people; rather, they are just people with problems.” – Deb

What is one thing people in our community can do to help the homeless?

“Donate! Money, bus tokens or meals are often needed.” – Edwina

“Help us identify those low-cost rentals and employment opportunities that might be willing to give our residents a chance to turn their lives around.” – Deb

“Get involved! And ask the shelter what their greatest need is.” – Minerva

Help the homeless in your community become stable and self-sufficient. Learn what items are needed most, or donate online.