Harrisonburg organization earns award for work to end family homelessness

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 9:41 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Bridge of Hope Harrisonburg-Rockingham was recognized this month for their efforts to fight homelessness in the Harrisonburg area.

The organization won the Division Two Top Benchmark award for its work. One of the benchmarks the group achieved was putting 100% of participating families into sustainable and safe housing.

“We have benchmarks which are data points and what they do is they give us goals to aim for in our work, and they also help us keep the integrity of our program and keeping us accountable so how we serve the families,” Executive Director Chris Hoover Seidel.

Staff members say due to the shortage of affordable housing here in the Valley, but thanks to creativity and community support they were able to make it happen.

“We had a local church reach out who had an uninhabited rectory available on an interim basis for one of our families during a very challenging time for them within our program. And it was just such a gift to us and that family, so we’re always grateful for community support,” Neighborhood Resource Specialist Maria Rodriguez said.

Another issue some families in Bridge of Hope’s program can face is a language barrier. Case managers say they work week-to-week and even day-to-day to help those new to the country overcome this obstacle while achieving other goals like employment and education.

“It’s a really positive experience to be able to work with these families that are participating in our programs. Truly my role is more of a role of an advocate and a supporter the parents and the children in the program are the real agents of change,” Case manager Makayla Fulmer said.

Siedel says to see all of the behind-the-scenes work be recognized and helping the families in need locally is the true reward.

“I think especially in this really tough year it’s a way to affirm our team for the incredible work that they’re doing. Our staff is managing a lot of crisis moments and problem-solving alongside these families, and it means a lot to know that our families are receiving the best care that we can give to them,” Siedel said.

Siedel says there are always volunteer opportunities at Bridge of Hope, and you can find more information by clicking here.