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  • John Proctor

Transitional Housing in Virginia

Glen Allen, Virginia - Having talked about the services different programs offered to Veterans, homeless Veterans to be exact, the past few days, it is high time we focus on one of which that, in my opinion, is the biggest help of all to not only them, but to all other homeless people as well.

Transitional Housing.

If you've been reading through our previous articles, then I'm sure you'd feel some familiarity towards this term.

Nonetheless, let me give you a few of its definitions which I've fished out of the web to give you and those who are not yet familiar with this term a clearer perspective of today's topic!

According to, it is affordable supportive housing designed to provide housing and appropriate support services to persons who are homeless or who are close to homelessness.

The transition is to help them be more self-sufficient to move towards independent living on their own.

Meanwhile, another definition is from wherein it is as defined by HUD: A project that has as its purpose facilitating the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing within a reasonable amount of time (usually 24 months).

Transitional housing includes housing primarily designed to serve deinstitutionalized homeless individuals and other homeless individuals with mental or physical disabilities and homeless families with children.

To put it all together, Transitional Housing is basically a bridge between the residents and the society wherein they're given the space and time they need to slowly adapt to the "normal" lifestyle their community is used to for the sake of being able to integrate and be part of it with ease.

Meanwhile, we should take note not to confuse Transitional Housing with Supportive Housing as the I’ve read that the latter refers to a more permanent and stable living situation where there is no time limit attached to this period.

Moreover, while residents are often provided with services like support for addictions and mental health, education and training, life skills, structure, and etc. to prepare them, such services will continue during the supportive housing phase though residents will be handling more responsibilities such as paying the rent.

Here is a small list of the common types of transitional housing there is so far in accordance with

  • Transitional living for low-income families who are homeless.

  • Transitional housing for recovering addicts.

  • Transitional housing for homeless veterans.

Now who is this housing really for you ask?

As mentioned above, it is for those who are homeless but not limited to them as even former detainees, veterans, and those recovering from addictions such as alcohol and drug abuse are being offered such services, them being in the forms of halfway houses, sober houses, and more.

Hard to believe that such a system actually came into existence right?

And it’s usually this goal that keeps the system going for many places as I’ve gathered through my readings: The goal of providing a place to stay for certain individuals while moving toward a more permanent housing situation is to help them transition back into their community.

Now that the times have progressed, let's take a look at the benefits offered in today's Transitional Housings to delve deeper into its development over the years!

Here is a short list from along with an explanation for each!

Reduced Crime

Since many people who use transitional housing are victims of domestic violence, simply getting them out of their situations will reduce crime rates.

It will also take ex-convicts and other homeless people who may have felt forced to commit crimes to survive off the street and give them some sense of hope that things can be different.

Disease Prevention

For many homeless people, living on the street does not provide the sanitary conditions necessary for optimum health.

In transitional housing, residents have access to clean water for bathing and oral hygiene, as well as support services on how to avoid STDs and drug-related diseases.

Substance Abuse

Most transitional housing programs offer substance abuse support.

Substance abuse is an area of concern for many homeless people, and having access to effective support measures can help them get sober and stay that way.

Many programs will also follow-up once the recipient has moved into permanent housing.

Employment Assistance

Since the goal of transitional housing is for recipients to eventually move into their own permanent homes, it is important to help them with finding suitable jobs.

Assistance with resume writing, interview techniques and job search can help find jobs that will last.

Self Esteem

Transitional housing benefits the self-esteem of the people who use it by giving them ways out of their situations and a sense of purpose about the future.

Many people who wind up in transitional housing come from hopeless situations and are given a chance to make more of their lives.

The skills and knowledge they gain from being in the program can give them a sense of hope as they move forward.

This is basically a program that helps one stay on course in recovering, helps on get healthy, and helps one get ready for what will be coming next, especially when facing challenges posed to us by society itself.

Now what do you think happens in Transitional Housing?

In these housings, the following usually occurs as to what I’ve read in the web so far:

  • Residence of up to 24 months with wrap-around services to help people stabilize are usually provided.

  • Different services, layout, and access range widely from one program to the next, some even focused on drug and alcohol treatment.

  • Training of certain skills, especially living skills, and development of independent living including providing a resume and job placement.

  • Embracing of a new lifestyle as the residents look out for one another to further promote the abstaining from use and to lessen cases of relapse with the possibility of developing close and lifelong relationships with one another.

  • Random drug tests are a common condition to remain in the program.

Having read all that, have you gained a clearer understanding of what Transitional Housing really is and can give?

Well I hope you do and hope that you'll be someone who can help those in need reach out to such housings when the time comes!

Now before we end today’s article, I’ll be leaving you with a bit of trivia about Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH):

  • More than 97% of our residents do not return to homelessness.

  • Average incomes of our residents increase by 127% within one year of becoming permanently housed.

And here is a short history about it from as well!

  • VSH was the first in the nation to develop regionally funded, permanent supportive apartments for formerly homeless individuals. The development, Gosnold Apartments, is an adaptive re-use of a former bottling plant and serves individuals from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Portsmouth.

  • New Clay House opened in Richmond in 1992 as Virginia’s first studio apartments with support services for 47 formerly homeless residents.

  • In 2000 we launched the first affordable rental housing program in Virginia for homeless families moving from shelters and transitional housing.

  • Our first mixed-income apartment community serving formerly homeless as well as low-income individuals, The Crossings, opened in Charlottesville in 2012.

  • VSH also created a regional public-private work group to fill a gap for services for people with severe and persistent mental illness and long periods of homelessness. To address these needs, we launched “A Place to Start” in 2007 and continue to operate it as Richmond’s only housing and intensive services program for this targeted population.

For the VSH, their mission is to end homelessness by providing permanent housing and supportive services with this organization being the first non-profit one in Virginia to develop and provide permanent housing for homeless single adults.

They have also developed and manage more than 650 housing units in 17 communities whilst catering to hundreds of additional clients in permanent housing with private landlords.

Knowing all of this, even we can start reaching out and making contributions through small acts to lessen the rate of homelessness in our communities!

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