Organizations House 249 Families in Virginia

written by Kay Moshier McDivitt
December 5, 2013

Today marks the halfway point for the 100 Day Rapid Re-Housing Challenge in Virginia, the second phase of the Alliance’s Virginia Learning Collaborative initiative.

As part of the challenge, 31 organizations in Virginia set ambitious goals to rapidly re-house even more families over 100 days. When the Challenge began I was excited about the possibilities. Today, those possibilities have become a reality and a total of 249 families have moved to homes over the past 50 days.

How are they doing it? First, they’re motivating their staff and communities to embrace the Challenge, and second, they’re being bold, working together, and thinking creatively to leverage resources. Halfway into the Challenge, the excitement and energy these organizations have created are still infectious.

As part of the challenge, organizations have:

  • Adopted a theme to motivate staff: One organization has embraced the chant, “we will, we will house you,” while another organization’s staff have created encouraging (and fun) Michael Jackson themed posters to display around their offices.
  • Energized staff events: One organization got their staff off to an energetic start with a kickoff party, complete with a decorated “Challenge” cake. (Staff at this organization are already focusing on their “celebrate our success” party for the end of the challenge.)
  • Tracked their progress: Organizations are publicly displaying the progress toward their goals with visual tools like a “Countdown Home” posters to motivate not just their staff, but the residents of their facilities.

To leverage resources, organizations have:

  • Created a “Home for the Holidays” campaign in lieu of the traditional “Adopt a Family” campaign. In Fredericksburg, Va., shelter providers are working with community donors to to meet their goal of re-housing all families in shelters by the holiday.
  • Reassessed their budgets to find creative news ways to reallocate resources in order to re-housing more families.
  • Engaged their communities over social media to inform them about the challenge. This has helped them leverage landlord and housing resources, as well as secure additional funds. (You can follow the challenge yourself on Twitter using the hashtag #housingchallenge.)

The excitement and energy that’s driving this effort to rapidly re-house homeless families across Virginia show no signs of abating. As one of the organizations, Doorways, recently put it,

“We have found in this challenge an “infectious energy” that is showing up across staff as we work together to house families quickly. Staff are rallying to inspire and support each other to overcome barriers standing in the way of our clients’ housing…with the result of the entire team growing together.”