Council of Community Services Fri, 15 Sep 2017 18:45:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Blue Ridge CoC Symposium Sponsor Spotlight: VHDA Wed, 02 Aug 2017 17:44:35 +0000 As we all know, Virginia’s housing needs are significant, especially for supportive and affordable housing. However, through careful planning, strong partnerships, and perseverance, the Virginia Housing Development Authority is making positive impacts for Virginia’s most vulnerable population — those experiencing homelessness.

The Commonwealth is a leader in addressing homelessness, anchored by the model referred to as rapid re-housing.  Having a place to call home is a fundamental building block and through this model, individuals and families experiencing homelessness are connected with permanent housing as quickly as possible.  Once safely housed, residents can be provided with wrap around services necessary to maintain housing and connect with the community.

Also of note is the tremendous burden that homelessness places on taxpayers, resulting in literally millions of dollars each year in emergency room visits, extended hospital stays, medical treatments, police intervention, and jail stays, and these expenses don’t include the cost to the individuals themselves.  This is why VHDA has made addressing unmet rental needs of low-income and critical population’s one of its ongoing goals.

While homeless rates have fallen in Virginia in the past few years, VHDA realizes that there is still work to be done.  Studies have shown that – in practice and not just in theory – providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent supportive housing saves taxpayers money and increases the well-being of the people being served.  Also, housing stability has been shown to decrease emergency room visits while increasing regular medical attention, access to treatment, and recuperation. VHDA understands that collaborations and partnerships are vital to conquering housing issues throughout the Commonwealth.

VHDA serves a critical role in the creation of supportive housing units in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the past, VHDA has provided pre-development funds to assist non-profit organizations with creating permanent supportive housing options, and VHDA’s financing through the Housing Credit program and through SPARC funding has allowed organizations to obtain the necessary capital to take a project from concept to reality. Since 2014, VHDA has partnered to assist local communities with increasing their capacity to prevent and end homelessness. The partnership was designed to support thr AmeriCorps program which places volunteers in local continuums of care (CoC) and planning groups throughout Virginia.

VHDA along with their partners are now beginning to tackle the needs of persons with serious mental illness, a population we know comprises a large portion of the homeless population.  VHDA has provided multiple grant making opportunities, which include evaluation of coordinated entry systems to the development of a Homeless Management Information System that provides much needed data reporting and spans across several compliance systems.  VHDA, in partnership with other key state and local stakeholders, supported the effort that led to Virginia functionally ending Veteran’s homelessness.

Last but certainly not least, VHDA has developed a number of tools to help the homeless.   For example, is a program to help individuals and families find housing, and the renter education programs are designed to help people maintain housing and reduce recidivism.  VHDA is proud to partner with agencies to further best practices in this arena, and we understand the vital role our partners play in furthering the fight.  VHDA will continue to be a strategic partner in statewide efforts to address homelessness in the Commonwealth and we look forward to opportunities to collaborate and leverage vital resources needed to make a difference.  On behalf of VHDA, we thank all of the partners here for your efforts.


Blue Ridge Homeless Reports Featured in National Publication Mon, 10 Jul 2017 18:50:00 +0000 The Limits of Homeless Services (3)


The Blue Ridge Continuum of Care, the local planning body responsible for coordinating the full range of homeless services in Roanoke, Salem, and Covington, was featured in The National Homeless Information Project’s newsletter. The NHIP is a grassroots effort to increase sharing and understanding of homeless services data in order to increase knowledge in the field. 

Reports from the Blue Ridge Mountains

The Blue Ridge Continuum of Care (VA-502) which covers a five-county area that includes the three cities of Roanoke, Salem and Covington released its annual Point-in-Time Count Report showing a 19.3% decrease in total one-day homelessness.  The CoC also released a Five-year Report detailing progress on chronic, veterans, and family homelessness.  The NHIP thanks Matt Crookshank, Director of Homeless Services for the Blue Ridge CoC, for sending along the reports.

Click here to read full article.

Summer Resources with 2-1-1 VIRGINIA Wed, 07 Jun 2017 15:38:27 +0000 Summer Resources (1)

Schools are out and summer is in session.

2-1-1 VIRGINIA is here year-round to connect you with FREE information on available community services.

2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number connecting people with FREE information on available community services. When you dial 2-1-1, a trained professional listens to your situation and suggests sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in Virginia. 2-1-1 VIRGINIA’s database can also be accessed at

2-1-1 VIRGINIA has the following summer resources to share with those in need:

  • Summer Food Service Program: Ensures low-income children, 18 years and under, continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Text “FOOD” to 877-877 to find local program sites. Don’t see something close? Check back as more programs may come available. Web search also available. VISIT:
  • Summer Activities: Summer vacation and nothing to do? 2-1-1 VIRGINIA has listings for parks and recreation programs, museums, community theaters and more. SEARCH: Arts, Camp, Clubs, Cultural Heritage, Museum, Parks, or Recreation at 

For additional resources and announcements, click here OR simply dial 2-1-1.

Roanoke Region Receives More than $800,000 to Support Efforts in Reducing Homelessness Fri, 24 Mar 2017 13:06:40 +0000 The Blue Ridge Continuum of Care, the region’s planning body for homeless services, has been awarded $835,191 to support its coordinated effort in reducing homelessness in the region. This funding awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) funds seven projects being implemented through three organizations: the City of Roanoke, the Council of Community Services and ARCH Services. The funding is part of a record $1.95 billion awarded by HUD to organizations nationwide through its Continuum of Care (CoC) grant competition.

These resources will provide critical services to individuals and families in crisis and will allow the region to build upon its successes in addressing homelessness. As announced earlier this month, overall homelessness in the region has been reduced by more than 52% since 2012. 

CoC 5 Year Progress Infographic_001

Projects funded through the announcement are:

• Blue Ridge CoC Planning Project – City of Roanoke
• City of Roanoke Homeless Assistance Team (HAT)
• Coordinated Assessment System – City of Roanoke (new)
• Healing Haven – ARCH Services (new)
• Heroes Haven Permanent Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless Veterans – ARCH Services
• Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) – Council of Community Services
• Trust House Case Management – ARCH Services

These awards include five renewal and two new projects. The new projects are evidence of the region’s leaders and system planners’ commitment to conducting on-going evaluation of community needs and investing in new, best practice-aligned programs that make the service system more effective and efficient.

ARCH Services has received funding to implement a new permanent supportive housing project to provide stable housing and supportive services to individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. This project will utilize the Housing First model – a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing as quickly as possible, and then providing voluntary supportive services as needed. This approach prioritizes client choice in both housing selection and in service participation.

The City of Roanoke will be implementing new funding to build its capacity in managing the community’s Coordinated Assessment System. The Coordinated Assessment System ensures individuals and families experiencing a housing crisis are connected to the most appropriate services quickly and efficiently.

Questions? Please contact Matt Crookshank, Director of Homeless Services, Council of Community Services

In the news: 

Roanoke region awarded more than 800,000 dollars to help the homeless,, March 23, 2017

Roanoke area receives more than $800k to reduce homelessness, WDBJ7, March 22, 2017



Do you know a housing hero? Nominate them for the Affordable Housing Advocacy Award! Thu, 23 Mar 2017 18:47:55 +0000 Do you know a housing hero-


Decent, affordable and accessible housing is the right of every citizen and is critical to the economic health and development of our region. To further its mission to encourage proactive involvement in housing issues, the Roanoke Regional Housing Network, a standing committee of the Council of Community Services, created the Affordable Housing Advocacy Award to recognize and reward the outstanding advocacy efforts of an individual or agency in our region. The award will be presented at the organization’s Roanoke Regional Housing Symposium. The recipient will receive $500.

Nomination Process:

Nominations for the Affordable Housing Advocacy Award may be made by any member of the Roanoke Valley community. Nominees may be member agency employees, volunteers, or any other member of a specific community so long as their advocacy efforts have been notable. Elected officials are also eligible for consideration. Nominations must be received by the chair no later than April 20. Please email the attached nomination to Matt Crookshank at If you have questions, please call 540.266.7554.

The Affordable Housing Advocacy Award Selection Committee shall be comprised of the RRHN Chair, Vice Chair and symposium planning committee.  The committee shall meet at the close of the nomination period to discuss and select a recipient. The committee shall submit their selection to the Chair in preparation of the award plaque and $500 check.

Award Criterion:

Recipients of the award shall be selected with the following criterion:

  • Impact on legislation: Actions having an impact on advancing affordable, quality and accessible housing legislation; generating support and/or raising new awareness among legislators. (25 points)
  • Raising community awareness: Actions generating support for and raising awareness among the general public and community decision-makers regarding the benefits of and the need for affordable, quality and accessible housing and community development partners. (25 points)
  • Mobilizing Grassroots Advocacy: Actions that mobilize legislative advocacy by fellow housing and community development partners and other members of the community. (25 points)
  • Within the above criteria, additional points may be awarded as follows:
    • Overall impact of efforts (10 points)
    • Local innovation (5 points)
    • Consistency of efforts (5 points)
    • Replicability (5 points)

Nominations shall be scored in accordance with the above criterion and point system. The nominee with the highest score shall be selected for the award. The Selection Committee shall have the ability to make more than one award if there is a tie or it is felt that more than one Affordable Housing Advocacy Award is warranted. No more than two awards will be given during any award period.


The Results Are In! 19.3% Decrease in Homelessness in the Roanoke Region Mon, 13 Mar 2017 20:07:33 +0000 On January 25, 2017, volunteers and homeless service providers took to the streets and shelters to conduct the Roanoke Region’s 2017 Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered persons on a single night during the last ten days of January. The count provides a snapshot of who is homeless. Why the Point-in-Time? 1) Its required. In order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to conduct one.  2) The information collected is useful. The information is valuable to area service providers, policy makers, and you – the public, on the individual and family challenges and barriers associated with homelessness.


The numbers have been crunched and the results are in…

We are pleased to announce the results indicate progress and a decrease in homelessness in our region for the FIFTH consecutive year!

The number of homeless individuals has decreased 52% since January 2012, with the count decreasing 19.3% in January 2017. This year’s decrease is the largest single year reduction since 2013.

With five years of decreasing numbers in the PIT Count under our belt, it’s safe to say we’re on a downward trend in the number of people experiencing homelessness…but we can’t take all of the credit! These numbers are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the community’s service providers, system planners and decision-makers. It’s been a collaborative effort. In 2012, the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care began to transform the way services are provided in the community. An increased focus has been placed on service coordination among providers; hard work has been done to expand permanent housing solutions; data is being used through new, enhanced technology to monitor progress and outcomes in more sophisticated ways; resources are now being more strategically targeted on the community level. We’ve moved away from a program-centric structure to a system-minded, coordinated effort. As cliche’ as it sometimes can sound, collaboration really is the key to success!


Yet with all this progress, there is still work to do! 267 of our neighbors remain without a home. This year there was an increase in the number of individuals staying in unsheltered locations (17 individuals counted in 2017, seven were counted in 2016). Three of those counted were youth (age 18-24). This year, temperatures were unseasonably warm on the night of the count, so no warming shelter was open. This could certainly be a contributing factor to the increase in the number of unsheltered individuals. There is more than enough beds at emergency shelters to meed the needs of individuals in crisis in our community.

As the results make clear, the system changes have paid tremendous dividends. Continued and expanded investment in permanent housing solutions and best practice service models are key to accelerated future success as we continue our focus on reducing homelessness among the priority populations, and for all of our neighbors. We will not stop until everyone in our community has a safe, stable place to call home. Ready for zero? Let’s get to it!



Check out the full report below:

2017 Point-in-Time Report

2017 Point-in-Time Report









In the news: 

Count of Roanoke Valley homeless declines for fifth year, The Roanoke Times, March 10, 2017

Homelessness down in the Roanoke region for fifth year in a row, WDBJ7, March 10, 2017

How Can You Support the Council on Roanoke Valley Gives Day? Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:27:28 +0000 RVG Infographic







Roanoke Valley Gives

03.15.17 | 12:00 AM – 11:59 PM

For 24 hours, beginning, March 15th at 12:00 a.m., YOU can support the work of the Council of Community Services.


OR go to and search for the Council of Community Services

Social media accounts:

Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow us on LinkedIn:

Hashtag: #rvgives17

What is Roanoke Valley Gives? Roanoke Valley Gives is an initiative of Foundation for Roanoke Valley. It is a day of community giving! One of the primary goals is to empower those who love the community to easily support their favorite causes or charitable organizations.

What is the goal of Roanoke Valley Gives? Foundation of Roanoke Valley’s goal is to generate $500,000 for participating Roanoke Valley nonprofit organizations in a 24-hour period. Last year RVG raised $366,541 for 125 local nonprofits.

Let’s talk CCS Goals!

  • Our goal is to raise $3,500
  • 100 unique donors
  • 100% board support

How Can I Help?

  1. Mark March 15, 2017 on your calendar!
  2. Place a Roanoke Valley Gives badge in your email signature.
  3. Like and follow CCS on our social media accounts.
    • Change your profile picture to a Roanoke Valley Gives badge.
    • Help Build Buzz! See our post?
      • Click like
      • Better yet, comment.
      • Even better, click the share button!
      • The best, share this link on your page and challenge your friends to participate!
        • Example: Today, thousands of people are joining together for a community-wide day of charity. I’m donating to the Council of Community Services and I hope you do, too!
  4. And of course, GIVE!

How Can I Give?

Beginning at 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15th, visit Roanoke Valley Gives.

Step 1: Search for the Council of Community Services.

Step 2: Click the “Donate Now” button.

Step 3: Enter your credit card information to complete your donation of $10 or more. There is no maximum donation amount.

The Roanoke Valley Gives Day ends at 11:59 p.m. on March 15th.

Please make a gift during this 24-hour period OR you can schedule your donation in advance. You can visit the site today and schedule your gift to be processed on March 15th. *Gifts must either be given on March 15th or scheduled to be processed on March 15th to count towards the Roanoke Valley Gives total.

How Do I Become A Fundraiser?

  1. Go to the Council’s Roanoke Valley Gives webpage
  2. Locate and click the red “Become a Fundraiser” button
  3. Enter in your name and email, then click submit.
  4. You will receive a confirmation code from “GiveBig Responder” to the email you entered.
  5. Click the link in Step 1.
  6. Create a profile name and password, and click submit.
  7. Personalizing your profile
    • You will be redirected to your site upon creating your profile.
    • Locate the “setting” button above the blue and green banner.
    • Use the button to customize items on your profile like:
      • Add a profile picture
      • Set a fundraising goal
      • Tell others why you’re giving – Don’t forget to save your settings!

Access Your Fundraiser Profile.

Login: Go to the Roanoke Valley Gives website

Click on the white circle in the upper right corner to go to the login screen.

Click on Fundraiser Sign In and enter your email and password

Now Tell Your Friends!

To share your fundraising page with others you can either use your unique link or you can post your social network message using the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ icons on your fundraising page.

Information Overload?

Not to worry! If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need one-on-one assistance, the CCS Roanoke Valley Gives Team is here to help! Contact Alison, Amanda, or Linda with questions.

Alison Jorgensen     (540) 985-0131, ext. 502

Amanda Holcomb   (540) 985-0131, ext. 503

Linda Arrington       (540) 985-0131, ext. 704


Thank you in advance for supporting the Council’s mission! Your willingness to advocate, fund raise, and donate enables us to continue the important work we do to improve the quality of life for those in our community. Be on the lookout for social media posts, newsletters, and emails regarding Roanoke Valley Gives Day!

Add this post to your social media pages to show your support!

RVG FB-Twitter Post



Emergency Department Visits for Unintentional Drug and Heroin Overdoses among Virginia Residents, January 2015 – August 2016 Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:34:57 +0000 Virginia Department of Health | Enhanced Surveillance Monthly Report
Emergency Department Visits for Unintentional Drug and Heroin Overdoses among Virginia Residents, January 2015 – August 2016
Report Generated: September 9, 2016
Chief complaints and discharge diagnoses of emergency department (ED) visits are analyzed to characterize the burden of unintentional drug and heroin overdoses across Virginia. This report includes visits of Virginia residents to 81 acute care hospitals EDs and 13 free-standing EDs that occured between January 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016.
Report Highlights: In August 2016, emergency department (ED) visits for unintentional drug overdose among residents in Virginia increased 8% while visits for unintentional heroin overdose decreased by 20% compared to July 2016.
By health planning region, ED visits for unintentional heroin overdose decreased in four out of five regions. Visits in the Southwest Region increased from 4 to 8 visits but still accounted for the smallest population of visits by region (8%).
By sex, the number of ED visits for unintentional heroin overdose among 25 to 35 year olds continued to decrease for the 5th month in a row, but still accounted for the highest proportion of visits statewide (37%). ED visits for unintentional heroin overdose decreased among every age group except those 65 or older which remains the smallest proportion of visits (1%).
Homelessness in the Roanoke Region is on a Decline for the Fourth Consecutive Year Wed, 25 May 2016 18:44:31 +0000 The Roanoke Region’s 2016 Winter Point-in-Time ReportPIT

Homelessness in the Roanoke Region is on a Decline for the Fourth Consecutive Year

The Point-in-Time Count is used to estimate the number of homeless individuals (sheltered and unsheltered) on one night in the Roanoke Region and gather information on their demographic characteristics. On January 28, 2016, the count found 331 homeless adults and children, which represented a 15.2% decrease from last year. The total does not include the possible homeless individuals incarcerated. The total does include the following demographics:

  • 45 homeless veterans. This is a 10% decrease from last year’s total.
  • Females make up 33.8% of the total homeless population and males 66.1% of the total homeless population.
  • Children under the age of 18 are 14.2% of the total homeless population.
  • Youth homelessness (ages 18-24) are 7.25% of the total homeless population.
  • The largest decrease in subpopulation data from last year was for youth homelessness (41.2%) and children under age 18 (46.6%).

The Point-in-Time Survey is administered at least once a year for the purpose of detailing information and characteristics about people experiencing homelessness in a shelter. 145 adults 18 and over completed the survey. A significant proportion of the homelessness individuals surveyed (58) have never experienced homelessness prior to their current situation. 65.5% of those without homes were in the Roanoke Region when they became homelessness. This statistic has increased each year since 2013.

This data from the Point-in Time Count and Survey provides insight into the experience of homelessness, highlights local needs, and can guide strategies to address homelessness. The results in the full report are valuable to area service providers, policy makers, and the general public.

The collective impact approach and housing first model utilized by the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care continues to have positive outcomes. The results indicate progress and a decrease in homelessness in our region for the fourth consecutive year. Since 2012, there has been a 41% decrease in homelessness (2012: 561; 2015: 331). The number of individuals experiencing homelessness has not been this low since 2003.

Blue Ridge Continuum of Care and its partner agencies should be applauded for their efforts and considerable strides!  We have a dedicated, passionate, thoughtful group of individuals who are determined to end homelessness in the Roanoke Valley.


2016 Flat Pickin’ Fridays Thu, 07 Apr 2016 16:51:59 +0000


Join the Council of Community Services and Big Lick Entertainment as we kick off another incredible season of the Bank of Botetourt Flat Pickin’ Fridays series! Daleville Town Center is the place to be the second Friday of every month, May – September 2016! Great music, food trucks, beverages and fun for the entire family! The event is for ALL ages and just $5 at the gates. Kids 12 and under are free! 100% of ticket proceeds benefit the Council! A special thank you to our sponsors the Bank of Botetourt, PA Short Distributing/Budweiser and the Daleville Town Center for making it all possible!

Friday, May 13th

Local favorite Seven Mile Ford will kick off another incredible season!

Seven Mile Ford


Friday, June 10th

“County Sing along Night” featuring Fuzzy Logic and Special Guest Jerry Wimmer Trio (of the Worx)!


Fuzzy Logic

Friday, July 8th

Heating up July 8th with “County Girl Night” featuring Nashville-Favorite The Natalie Brady Band!


The Natalie Brady Band

Friday, August 12th

“Nashville On the Rise” night featuring The Low Low Chariot and special guests to be announced!


The Low Low Chariot

Friday, September 9th

Ending the season with local favorite Rutledge!