During the cold winter months of December through March, unsheltered homeless adults living around our community have a place to seek shelter from the cold weather. Cornerstones partners with Fairfax County to operate the North County Hypothermia Prevention Program (NCHP), one of three hypothermia prevention sites in Fairfax County. The center works to prevent weather-induced illness and loss of life among unsheltered homeless adult men and women in our community. And, in addition to providing shelter from the cold, the program offers support to help these neighbors build stable lives.
Among the 24 men and women staying at the shelter each night, you’ll find the Cornerstones in-house employment specialist on hand, reaching out to ensure each person is aware of the employment services available through Cornerstones. This specialist works with the unemployed or underemployed to identify barriers to employment and creates a plan to overcome those barriers as they prepare to look for work.
During the evening, the Fairfax County Diversion Outreach Team checks in to provide support for those struggling with substance abuse. This team provides transportation for anyone wanting to participate in a short-term residential substance abuse program where they can safely detoxify from the effects of drugs and/or alcohol.
In addition to volunteers providing and serving a warm meal, and an attentive staff working throughout the night, you could also find Supervisor Cathy Hudgins at the shelter. Her goal is to hear directly from those in need about the real issues that led to their homelessness. She hears about expensive medical conditions and loss of employment. Many of those she speaks with though are the working homeless, unable to make ends meet in our high cost of living area, including one man who arrived at the shelter after finishing his double-shift (10 am – 10 pm), which he does six days a week.
With more and more people experiencing economic and social stress, the continued generous support of volunteers and donations of resources are needed to help our neighbors build more stable lives. Click here to learn about volunteering or to access the wish list needs of the Hyperthermia Prevention Program. Your support can help meet the immediate needs of one of the most vulnerable populations in our community.