Without a permanent low-barrier shelter, here’s how organizations are helping people experiencing homelessness this winter
As the weather has gotten colder, groups that work with Harrisonburg’s homeless population have had to get creative, especially during a period in which the city doesn’t have a permanent shelter for the first time in two years.
Renovated and reopened Salvation Army location provides beds, but city still faces dearth of shelter space
Following a change in leadership after allegations of mismanagement, the Salvation Army reopened its emergency shelter on Jefferson Street in Harrisonburg, which comes as another organization — Open Doors — is still looking for a temporary place to reopen its shelter.
Affordable housing, robust mental and physical health care and accessible child care for working families are Harrisonburg residents’ top three needs that could be addressed using the city’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The city’s announcement that Harrisonburg has found a permanent site for a homeless shelter will eventually put an end to years of shifting from one temporary facility to another for Open Doors, the organization that runs the shelter.
The Salvation Army is making plans to re-open its Harrisonburg emergency homeless shelter, after closing it in March in the wake of allegations of mismanagement and poor living conditions.
The Harrisonburg City Council on Tuesday approved spending remaining federal CARES Act funds to buy property to help address homelessness in the community — a step some city leaders said they hope will lead to a year-round shelter. And housing insecurity was a theme at Tuesday’s meeting as council members learned more about the increasing numbers of residents teetering on the brink of or already in poverty.
Harrisonburg City Council members met in person for the first time since 2020 and revisited key issues from that time: the new high school and a housing crunch.