Fighting to help the homeless as well as families facing eviction, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network brings many different programs to their approach. They try to prevent it from occurring in the first place and also work to rehouse the homeless. Many of these individuals often lack basic needs, such as medical care, and the A-SPAN Nursing Services can help meet this need.
A-SPAN's Outreach Services staff members make contact with the hundreds of homeless families in the area. The team will pro-actively identify them by visiting parks, wooded areas, underpasses, abandoned buildings, malls, and other areas where the homeless live or gather. This is done in an effort to connect with the homeless.
When discovered, the agency will them work on satisfying immediate needs through the distribution of clothing, boxes of food, blankets and personal hygiene supplies; building long-term relationships; and providing access to higher-level services. They also direct them to soup kitchens and shelters.
The main goal is to end homelessness in Arlington by moving people into stable, permanent housing. The first steps will usually involve providing shelter, access to basic hygiene and medical care related necessities. The Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network program is the first of its kind in the DC Metro Area.
The Homeless Services Center is a powerful resource available to the community. It is so much more than just a homeless shelter. The facility allows thew staff to run all of their assistance programs and services under one roof, which serves to help clients make a more rapid transition from homelessness into new housing. Services available at the Center include emergency, shelter, access to a full-time nurse practitioner and medical respite services, food distribution, personal counseling, and job training.
Grants are used by A-SPAN as part of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). This is where the pro-active approach comes into play, as the agency has a goal of keeping at-risk Arlington County residents off the streets by stopping an eviction or foreclosure. They are also involved in facilitating the rapid re-housing of those who are already homeless by providing case management, money for rental deposits and related services.
Avoiding or limiting time spent living on the street can help avoid chronic homelessness, as well as reducing exposure to risk factors that can include ill health. Additionally, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network Housing Locator service helps fellow charities or non-profits find housing for their clients and provide long term placement services.
Through the non-profit's In-Roads and Striving Home supportive housing programs, PSH houses the chronically homeless who also suffer from substance abuse, disability or mental illness. After clients have been placed into new housing, PSH provides ongoing support to help them pay the rent on time to retain their homes. This is accomplished by assisting them with challenges they encounter on a daily basis.
Supportive housing resources include budgeting support, financial literacy training, credit counseling, and so on. Housing veterans is also a PSH initiative, offered through A-SPAN’s work with Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing. Case management and financial aid is used for this.
Located at the Homeless Services Center which is referred above, A-SPAN's Shelter Program serves dozens of homeless people on a daily basis. This is opened year round, and the program offers hot meals, daily sleeping arrangements; laundry facilities; case management; showers; medical care; and mental health/substance abuse services provided by therapists from the county's Treatment on Wheels Program. Additional services provided by case managers from the non-profit include referrals to year-round alternative emergency shelters, transitional as well as permanent housing, and information on free dental and medical care.
This year-round consistency for the homeless (or people near to it) allows for service continuity, providing a higher level of stability and well-being. The long term goal of Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network is for helping people access a number of housing placements. A-SPAN’s Employment Coordinator is also available to assist with employment-related needs for the homeless, and dial 703-228-7802 for information.
Free food and meals are served too. Individuals from faith groups, churches, schools, businesses, and throughout the Arlington community volunteer at sites to prepare and serve up to 80 meals each day through the Homeless Bagged Meal Program.
The Nursing Services offers free medical care check-ups. There is also follow-up given and even prescriptions in some cases. All of the assistance is provided by a full-time nurse practitioner and a volunteer doctor at the Homeless Services Center. Like the shelter program referenced above, the nursing program has expanded into a full-time, year-round operation, enabling the non-profit to serve greater numbers of people in need.
There is also a Medical Respite Service. There is assistance overseen by the nurse practitioner, and the team provides private beds for homeless patients who have been discharged from area hospitals, and still require some additional recovery services.
With still thousands of unemployed in the community, and the lack of jobs for the homeless being even greater, A-SPAN provides referrals to the Department of Human Services' Arlington County Employment Center.
A day center is open. A-SPAN offers low-barrier services, meaning that documentation requirements for the non-profit are minimal. For those seeking help, the agency will not require identification, mandatory participation in case management, or even the person to enter into a service agreement. This is not done in exchange for assistance.
The center has a full set of basic, wraparound services that include case management, employment counseling, street outreach, placement into the the Permanent Supportive Housing Program, and the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program. Day Program staff members and volunteers are available Monday through Friday 9 am to 4 as they address personal barriers to self-sufficiency.
At the center, there are Laundry facilities; Showers, New, clean clothes; referral for medical, optical, or dental care programs, or phone or mailing address. There is advice for applying to government benefit programs such as Food Stamps or section 8 housing. Clients can also meet with an employment case manager for assistance with job search, resume creation or life skills training.
To get more information on seeking assistance with eviction prevention or housing, A-SPAN is located at Homeless Services Center, 2020-A N. 14th St., Arlington, Virginia 22201. Call 703-820-4357.
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