Homeless Assistance Team
The Homeless Assistance Team (HAT) provides outreach services and case management to homeless individuals and families needing help locating permanent housing. We work to ensure emergency and transitional shelter plus support services are available for homeless persons. Roanoke's Human Services Coordinator, who advocates for expansion of services and education programs through increased funding, directs HAT. Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grant. HAT staff provides outreach, case management and supportive services to those seeking assistance.
What We Do:
Homeless Assistance Team (HAT) members search for new homeless sites in the thickets, under bridges and in alleyways and respond to reported homeless sightings on a daily basis. The Team conducts shelter and street sweeps weekly. Sweeps consist of visiting all area emergency shelters to offer assistance to working homeless and others that may not know about HAT services. Street sweeps are conducted weekly from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., or periodically from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. to locate persons residing in areas not designed for sleeping.
Provide Case Management
HAT provides guidance to homeless persons as they work on a service plan to define the cause of homelessness and develop goals, objectives and steps to address those issues. The team directs clients to supportive services that will best assist them in attaining permanent housing. Case managers who are very familiar with community resources make appropriate referrals.
Offer Supportive Services
These services, which are provided by Human Services and other agencies in the community, have served more than 1,800 clients. Clients received counsel for housing and were given transportation, photo ID, food, clothing, prescriptions, financial management counseling and other services.
Homelessness in the Roanoke Valley
The Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness (BRICH) monitors issues facing Roanoke's homeless population. The BRICH leads our community’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count and makes funding recommendations for homeless service programs in the region.
What is the Point-in-Time Count? The PIT Count is an unduplicated count of people experiencing literal homelessness on a single night in January. HUD defines literal homelessness as living in places not meant for habitation, shelter, and some transitional housing programs. Persons at risk of becoming homeless (such as those staying with friends/family or paying to stay in a motel) are not included in this count.
Why is the PIT done? While helping to determine the scope of homelessness, the PIT raises public awareness, promotes collaboration across communities, provides needed data, and helps the community apply for increased housing funds.
Previous Point-in-Time Count Reports are available at: https://www.endhomelessnessblueridge.org/point-in-time-pit-count/
The Blue Ridge Continuum of Care (CoC) is a planning body made up of homeless service providers and community partners that plans and coordinates the services available to address the needs of individuals experiencing homelessness in our region. The CoC’s homeless response system is made up of homelessness prevention providers, street outreach programs, emergency shelters and housing programs, including those delivering permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing services.
Additional information on the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care can be found at: www.endhomelessnessblueridge.org.
How the Community Can Help
Welcome Home Baskets provide necessary household items for persons transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing. Clients in transition have need of the following items:
- Alarm clock
- All-purpose cleaner
- Dish soap
- Dish towels
- Laundry detergent
- Light bulbs
- Paper towels
- Shower curtains and liners
- Spray disinfectants
Resources to assist homeless individuals and families in Roanoke include emergency shelters, financial assistance and various supportive service programs.
Individuals seeking rental assistance can access online screening tools through the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care website.