In The News: COVID-19 and Homelessness in the Tri-Cities – Why the Bigger Picture Matters

The pandemic has magnified the challenges families face when experiencing housing instability, from food insecurity to accessing community resources. In a commentary published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Villa CEO Kathleen Burke Barrett addresses the need for a more holistic approach to end poverty:

“For most of us, 2020 was a tough year. For those who are in poverty facing housing insecurity, the fear and stress were overwhelming.

The issue of homelessness is not a simple one of housing, but rather it is at the heart of a complex web of disadvantages that make even the most basic elements of daily living — buying food, doing laundry or getting a job interview — herculean tasks. Imagine trying to apply for assistance – or a job – when you don’t have a computer, Internet service or a printer.”

Read the full commentary on

In June 2020, the Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services became one of about 30 regional providers for the Virginia Rent Mortgage Relief Program (RMRP). The Flagler team helped 253 households representing 693 individuals in the Tri-Cities Area of Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights to avoid eviction. About 75% of those households included children. Flagler also helped with the many associated expenses not covered, such as utilities, transportation, COVID-19 PPE and mattresses.

Flagler provides rapid rehousing services to households of all compositions in the Greater Richmond and Tri-Cities areas. Rapid rehousing solves the basic and urgent need for housing first. After permanent housing is obtained, case managers can more easily address factors that led to homelessness, and connect households with supportive services to remain stably housed.

Kathleen Burke Barrett

Kathleen Burke Barrett

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