The Falls Church Homeless Shelter is located at 217 Gordon Rd. in the City of Falls Church and is open from November to April between 6pm and 8am. The Shelter is able to house 12 individuals, 10 men and 2 women. The Friends have an explicit policy of reserving two beds for women, who have separate sleeping and shower facilities. Each resident has his/her own bed and locker and may reserve a bed for the following night. If a resident does not show up at the shelter by the established time, the reserved bed is made available to another individual who is experiencing homelessness. Over the last five years, residents stayed at the Shelter an average 25 nights.
Volunteers provide hot meals and deliver them to the Shelter every evening. Most meals are made and delivered by individual families, although the George Mason HS Senior Class and local restaurants also provide meals. Faith communities in the Falls Church area take turns in providing breakfast items as well as staples for the week ( milk, juices, bread, fruit, snacks, etc.) Shelter staff provides intake and crisis counseling to all shelter residents. Staff also advises residents on available city, county, and other social services. In addition, the Friends has established working relationships with the Lamb Center and the First Christian Church Safe Haven Program to meet resident needs during the day. Falls Church City and Fairfax County human services staff visits the Shelter on a regular basis to dialogue with residents as do representatives from local nonprofits and faith communities.
Homeless. Not Hopeless.
Video courtesy of Jason Good
Life skills classes and resources are made available to all Shelter residents. Classes are held weekly. Topics of discussion include, but are not limited to, the following: crisis intervention, anger management, budgeting skills, available community services and how to access such resources, and Out of Poverty.
The Fairfax County Homeless Healthcare Program provides flu shots and outreach nurse practitioners periodically visit the Shelter to enroll residents in the Community Health Care Network and provide services and medicines. They are also available for telephone conversations with residents on health issues.
The smallness of the Shelter provides residents with unique socialization opportunities
among residents, staff, volunteers, and Falls Church City and County staff. Independent surveys among residents continuously rate the Shelter as very welcoming and over 90% of past residents say that they would recommend the Shelter to other individuals experiencing homelessness.
The Friends contracted a part-time case manager to help Shelter residents move
further along the path to employment, permanent housing, and greater self-sustainability. The Friends also established a Resident Assistance Fund to help residents meet their individual goals.
Because of the success achieved, case management has been extended to a year round position. The case manager meets periodically with those clients willing to engage to assist them in finding work, getting medical attention, finding housing, seeking assistance, processing applications, and solving emergencies.