Sentara Community Impact: Bridge of Hope

Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 3:00 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - “We get to engage with the most incredible families in our community, watch narratives change, watch people overcoming circumstances, breaking out of systemic barriers, all with the support of their neighbors and their community,” Chris Hoover Seidel explained. Hoover Seidel is the executive director of Bridge of Hope.

Bridge of Hope is a housing-first program that lasts about 12-24 months to provide housing for families through rental assistance that decreases over time of participation.

“This year we saw our waitlist exceed any numbers we have had in previous years. That was one of our frustrations, not being able to higher the right person at the right time. Over time, we were actually able to identify two new case managers to bring onto the team. We will be able to serve more families at this time when our work is needed more than ever,” Hoover Seidel said.

To help with that increasing wait list, Bridge of Hope was awarded $15,000 as one of the Sentara Cares Fall Grant recipients.

“As the affordable housing crisis ballooned across the country, we have felt that even more in our community as well. It feels tighter and tighter all the time. We need landlord partners, we need people willing to step up and bring the solution because it has been one of the most challenging parts of our job the past year,” Hoover Seidel explained.

Hoover Seidel says there is a less than 3% vacancy rate for affordable housing in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. These grant funds will help support the Bridge of Hope’s initiatives through case management and rental assistance.

“All of which directly supports our families working their way out of homelessness,” Hoover Seidel said.

For more information on Bridge of Hope, click here. Organizations interested in learning more about the Sentara Cares grants should visit their website.