$100,000 Awarded to NVFS for Best Practices in Housing Local Homeless

2016 rapid re-housing award
From left to right: Virginia Secretary of Trade and Commerce Maurice Jones, NVFS Board Chair Joe Fay, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and NVFS President and CEO Stephanie Berkowitz.

(Oakton, Va. – January 19, 2016) The Virginia Housing Trust Fund has awarded $100,000 to the rapid re-housing program of Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) for its effectiveness, sustainability, and alignment with state policies. Virginia seeks to decrease the following: the length of time that individuals spend homeless, the number of individuals becoming homeless, and the number returning to homelessness. NVFS is the only Northern Virginia organization to receive this funding in the homelessness reduction category.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the award on Tuesday, January 19 at an event in Arlington, lauding the successful partnership between local governments and each of the five nonprofit organizations honored at the event. In addition to NVFS, funding was also awarded to Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, Community Residences, Inc., Pathways Homes, Inc. and Wesley Housing Development Corporation. All of these nonprofits, Governor McAuliffe said, “have made a huge difference in the quality of life for [Virginia] residents.”

The $100,000 award to NVFS will be used to support the rapid re-housing program at their 92-bed emergency shelter on the SERVE Campus in Manassas, Va., where NVFS’ best practices in rapid re-housing were first implemented and have since earned Rapid Re-Housing Certification by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The certification is given for meeting national benchmarks for increasing shelter exits to permanent housing and decreasing length of shelter stay. When NVFS first undertook operations at SERVE in 2009, residents typically stayed at the shelter for 180 to 240 days, or six to eight months. Today, it is down to an average of 45 days.

Rapid re-housing is an intervention designed to help individuals and families to quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. Rapid re-housing assistance is offered without preconditions (such as employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety), and the resources and services provided are typically tailored to the household’s unique needs. Studies indicate that this approach results in higher perceived choice from the clients’ perspective (1) as well an overall reduction in costs (2). NVFS helps families and individuals maintain stability through community case management, connection to community resources, and time-limited financial assistance.

Grants from the Virginia Housing Trust Fund in the homelessness reduction category may be used to provide rental assistance for up to one year and housing stabilization services. Local governments, housing authorities, and social services organizations are all eligible.


    1. Tsemberis, S., Gulcur, L., & Nakae, M. (2004). Housing First, Consumer Choice, and Harm Reduction for Homeless Individuals With a Dual Diagnosis. Am J Public Health American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 651-656. Retrieved http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448313
    2. Spellman, B., Khadduri, J., Sokol, B., & Leopold, J. (2010, March). Costs Associated With First-Time Homelessness for Families and Individuals (Rep.). Retrieved https://www.huduser.gov/publications/pdf/Costs_Homeless.pdf

Northern Virginia Family Service is the largest private, nonprofit human service organization in Northern Virginia. NVFS helps more than 34,000 individuals and their families each year find housing and emergency services; health and mental health services; early childhood education and child placement services; intervention and prevention programs; job training; and legal services. Throughout its history, NVFS has been recognized as an innovator of efficient and comprehensive service methods, while effectively creating sustained financial and social independence for its clients.

The Virginia Housing Trust Fund is intended to create and preserve affordable housing and to reduce homelessness in the commonwealth. It is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA). At least 80 percent of the fund is to be used for short-, medium- and long-term loans to reduce the cost of homeownership and rental housing. Up to 20 percent of the fund may be used to provide grants for targeted efforts to reduce homelessness.