Working with the City of Richmond’s Department of Social Services, Mayor Levar Stoney today announced the City’s 2018 – 2019 Cold Weather Overflow Shelter will operate from the Conrad Center, 1400 Oliver Hill Way.
“Allowing some of our most vulnerable residents to spend another winter in the deplorable conditions of the old Public Safety Building is unacceptable,” said Mayor Stoney. “That is why the City of Richmond will step up and relocate programs and services to a more suitable and accommodating city building as a temporary solution to provide safety and warmth this winter.
“The ultimate long-term goal is to find permanent, suitable housing for all of our citizens year-round, so that we don’t have to have this same challenge every year,” the mayor continued. “That is why I am pleased to support Councilwoman Robertson’s ordinance that would require the city to develop a strategic plan to address homelessness.”
The City of Richmond has previously operated the cold weather shelter at the city’s Public Safety Building, 501 N. 9th Street, to help prevent the possibility of hypothermia of citizens during extremely cold weather, when wind chill or temperature forecasts reach or drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, from October 1 through April 15. The Conrad Center, which is currently being used by the Office of Community Wealth Building (CWB), will have suitable restrooms, reliable heat and enough sleeping space to accommodate 150 to 175 persons. During the coming winter season, CWB services will transfer to the East District Initiative, located at 701 N. 25th Street.
“In an ideal scenario, we would have an organization or a ministry that would have been able to step up and commit to providing shelter from the extreme cold for people during the winter months, and that organization or ministry would have access to a site in a neighborhood filled with residents who embraced the opportunity to help people in need,” said Reggie Gordon, Interim DCAO for Human Services. “That did not happen. Therefore, the city will step up with the Conrad Center and we will rely on the existing shelter providers in the homeless services system, hoping that they, too, will be able to expand their bed space on the coldest nights.”
Gordon said citizens should make plans now for the cold weather or take advantage of existing bed space in the homeless services system, so they will not have to rely upon the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter, which should be used as a last resort.
Single adults needing overnight shelter are to call the Housing Crisis Line at (804) 972-0813 for a referral to the appropriate shelter. Single adults residing in the City of Richmond who are not eligible for existing shelter or are advised all available beds have been filled, should report to Commonwealth Catholic Charities (511 West Grace Street) to receive a referral to the Cold Weather Overflow Shelter.
Individuals seeking access to the Overflow Shelter must have a referral. Food will not be provided and pets are not allowed.
The Department of Social Services provides emergency assistance with gas and electric disconnection notices for City residents who qualify. Residents may also call the Fuel Line at (804) 646-7046.