Villa receives $1.25M Bezos Day 1 Families Fund grant to end family homelessness

St. Joseph’s Villa, a 30-year provider of housing and homeless services in central Virginia, has been selected to receive a $1.25 million grant from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund

“We are exceedingly honored and grateful to be entrusted with this transformational grant, which will impact thousands of our neighbors in need of safe and stable housing,” said Kathleen Burke Barrett, CEO of St. Joseph’s Villa. “The Villa is committed to ending chronic homelessness in our region through a collaborative approach with our partners. This investment from the Day 1 Families Fund puts us in a great position to succeed.”

This one-time grant, awarded to organizations moving the needle on family homelessness, will allow our Flagler Housing & Homeless Services to reach an additional 150 families. We will use the funds to invest in diversion and prevention programming so we can better serve families who face imminent risk of becoming homeless. We will also broaden access to mental health services and expand our homeless hotline services in Petersburg and the Tri-Cities regions.

St. Joseph’s Villa is one of 32 nonprofits across the U.S. to receive the second annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, as part of a broad investment by the Day 1 Families Fund to help solve family homelessness. The Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $98.5 million in grants this year. The fund worked with an advisory board of homelessness advocates and experts who identified and invited organizations to submit grant proposals to support their efforts to address homelessness.

Petersburg resident Kenya and her family are one of nearly 1,000 households that have been assisted by Flagler while in housing crisis. She, her daughter, sister and father (a U.S. Army veteran) lived together and faced eviction when forced to choose between paying rent or hospital bills. As a result, Kenya wound up in an emergency shelter, separated from her family and struggling with addiction. She connected with Flagler and successfully completed a recovery program, and was able to sign a lease for a townhome.

“I tried so long to do it on my own,” said Kenya. “Finally, I found a resource like St. Joseph’s Villa to help me get back on my feet. Now I am reunited with my family.” She also worked with her Flagler case manager to create goals and a sustainable budget, and will soon pay her own rent independently.

Flagler Housing & Homeless Services provides rapid rehousing assistance to homeless families, single individuals, youth and veterans in Richmond and the Tri-Cities. Additional services that help families maintain housing stability include: case management; linking families to community resources; employment training; budgeting assistance; and education around tenant responsibilities.

The Bezos Day One Fund was launched in 2018 with a commitment of $2 billion and a focus on two areas: funding existing nonprofits that help homeless families, and creating a network of new, nonprofit tier-one preschools in low-income communities. The Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families. The vision statement comes from the inspiring Mary’s Place in Seattle: no child sleeps outside.

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