In its first month of operation, Arlington County’s mobile behavioral health response team has been busy responding to calls.
Most of these calls — which range from welfare checks to mental health emergencies and drug overdoses — involve people who are homeless, officials say. It’s a trend they attribute to the recent closures of shelters in D.C.
“There’s been a surge of homelessness in Arlington County because of the closures in D.C.,” says Grace Guerrero, senior clinical psychologist and mental health supervisor, noting many are leaving D.C. for Arlington as well as other parts of Northern Virginia and southern Maryland.
“We’ll see what unfolds,” she added. “But we have seen those upticks.”
During a media event on Thursday, Arlington County’s “Mobile Outreach Support Team” (MOST) showed off its retrofitted van, stocked with non-perishable food, water, a defibrillator, clothes, hygiene items, Narcan and fentanyl test strips.
The vehicle was funded through a 2-year, $390,000 federal grant — secured with help from Rep. Don Beyer — in an effort to divert police involvement from calls involving mental health crises, substance abuse or domestic violence.
The team comprises a licensed clinician, a peer recovery specialist and an outreach worker from the Dept. of Human Services. They will triage a situation on-site and provide peer support and conflict resolution. MOST also works with medical and behavioral health services to ensure people receive the appropriate care.
The MOST team receives about 20-35 calls per week, largely between the van’s operational hours of 1-9 p.m. Once the van arrives, most of the time, people accept the team’s help, which Guerrero noted can prevent situations from escalating and resulting in injuries or death.
Guerrero says she is unsure if MOST has significantly reduced police involvement in mental health crises at this point. That is in part because emergency responders are still, typically, the first to arrive on scene, and will call the MOST team for specialized assistance.
To further reduce police involvement in these calls, she is looking to develop an enhanced “decision tree” to help police assess when their presence may not be necessary.
“I don’t know that we’ve done yet the curbing of [police] going to these [situations] unless we self-deploy… But right now, in these first five weeks, I would say that probably allowed [police] to go back into service sooner, much sooner,” she said.
Reducing law enforcement involvement in mental health crises is a goal advanced by the Police Practices Work Group, which was convened to suggest reforms to the Arlington County Police Department after the death of George Floyd.
ACPD too has noted the increased entanglement of police officers in mental health emergencies and the officer burnout to which it is contributing. Like the police department, the jail also is seeing an influx of inmates with mental health disorders as well as homeless inmates.
This includes Abonesh Woldegeorges, a 73-year-old woman who died in the jail last month. Her death prompted some in and outside local government to renew pressure on the county to address the role of law enforcement in tackling homelessness and mental health emergencies.
This number is five times higher than the number of people found living outside or in a shelter one night in January 2022. One night last winter, as part of the “point-in-time” count, 182 people did not have permanent, stable housing, according to a new report on homelessness in Arlington.
The recently released report says the larger figure more accurately captures the portion of the population experiencing homelessness in Arlington.
In a statement, Arlington County Dept. of Human Services Director Anita Friedman said that, without Covid-era eviction prevention efforts, the number of people who received services would have been higher.
“The total number of individuals served in FY 2022 was almost identical to pre-pandemic levels,” Friedman said. “Without strong eviction prevention efforts, we would have seen many more households upended and in crisis.”
Some $20 million in local, state and federal funding helped more than 3,400 households stave off eviction, according to the county.
The report comes as Arlington County embarks on a goal to bringing homelessness down to what it calls “functional zero” for several specific demographics. That means homelessness is “rare and brief” for a given population, such as young adults, families and survivors of domestic violence.
“For those households that do experience homelessness, it is traumatic, and we remain committed to working alongside them as they return to housing stability,” Friedman said. “We will also continue to address critical gaps, including in the areas of racial equity, immigrant and refugee households, and the aging population.”
Arlington County addresses homelessness through a network of programs and services it calls the Continuum of Care, or CoC. The report says that DHS staff and nonprofit program leaders have spent the last 10 years improving how the CoC prevents homelessness and finds permanent housing for people.
For instance, through the CoC, county and community partners work together to connect people to stable housing, jobs, childcare and emergency financial assistance, and provide behavioral health services to people living on the streets — a service that helped 65 people last year.
What homelessness looks like in Arlington
Of the 1,070 who received services through the CoC, there were:
- 744 single adults
- 105 families
- 36 veterans
- 74 young people aged 18-24
- 192 people in “chronic homelessness,” or individuals with a documented disability who have experienced at least 12 months of homelessness in one stretch or at least four times in less than three years
Excluding people in Arlington’s shelter for people escaping domestic violence, run by the nonprofit Doorways, 305 people were served in Arlington shelters. This includes 13 veterans and 25 chronically homeless individuals. The average length of stay was three months.
Meanwhile, the county report says demand for safe housing among domestic violence survivors — including individuals and families — is increasing.
While some 165 people received shelter at Doorways, the number of people who called its hotline was much higher: advocates counseled people on domestic and sexual violence during a total of 1,039 calls, per the report. Most of the time, people leaving these situations are women.
“Domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness for families, and the leading cause of homelessness for women,” the report says.
Women are also more likely to be at the head of a family experiencing homelessness, per the report. Of the families counted one night in January, women were the adult in the family 95% of the time.
Meanwhile, 78% of homeless individuals were men and 1% identified as transgender.
Local nonprofits and the Arlington County government have received $3 million in federal funding to address homelessness.
Nearly $200,000 will go to two new programs from the organizations Doorways and PathForward, formerly A-SPAN. The rest — save for about $81,000 for the county — will support existing programs provided by Bridges to Independence, Doorways, New Hope Housing and PathForward.
“This HUD funding helps ensure survivors of intimate partner violence have access to housing and additional pathways out of shelter, so that they can find healing, harbor, and hope for a brighter future,” Doorways President and CEO Diana Ortiz told ARLnow in a statement.
To date this year, Arlington has received $4.2 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat homelessness.
“HUD funding is a vital part of Arlington’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness,” said Arlington County’s Department of Human Services Director Anita Friedman in a statement.
“This announcement confirms that our strategic planning, policy development, and service delivery are effective and that we are changing lives for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless,” she continued.
The county delivers these services in a partnership with local nonprofits called the Arlington County Continuum of Care (CoC). For more than a decade, the CoC has worked to improve the county’s response to homelessness by focusing on providing permanent housing, working with 1,070 people in 2022, per the county.
Nonprofits receiving this money will use it in one of two ways. The first, called “rapid rehousing,” places people living on the street or in an emergency shelter in existing, empty affordable apartment units. The second, called “permanent supportive housing,” combines housing with services such as health care and employment help.
The funding breaks down as follows:
- Doorways: $127,398 for a new rapid rehousing program
- PathForward: $1.85 million for four existing programs and $68,116 for a new permanent supportive housing program
- New Hope Housing: $586,269 for three existing programs
- Bridges to Independence: $289,419 for an existing rapid rehousing program
“HUD grant funding supports a broad array of interventions designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness, particularly those living in places not meant for habitation, located in sheltering programs, or at imminent risk of becoming homeless,” per a county press release. “Because grants are competitive, localities must demonstrate need as well as an ability to address those needs.”
Arlington has demonstrated that ability in the past, when, in 2015, it functionally ended homelessness for veterans, according to a presentation on the county’s efforts.
That does not mean Arlington literally eradicated homelessness for former service members, however.
Rather, it means that the number of actively homeless veterans is less than or equal to the average monthly rate at which individuals and families find and move into stable housing, per the presentation. This is known as “functional zero.”
Arlington aims to reach functional zero for all populations experiencing homelessness by 2026, which would mean seven or fewer single adults and three or fewer youth and families with children actively experiencing homelessness at one time.
To reach this goal, Arlington is partnering with Community Solutions, which is a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness, and updating its strategic plan. As part of that process, the county held listening sessions earlier this year to discuss how homelessness affects specific population groups and hear solutions from the community.
In the presentation, Community Solutions representative Elise Topazian said Arlington is on the right track. Over the last 12 years, the Continuum of Care reduced overall homelessness by 66%, including a 52% reduction in sheltered and 90% reduction in unsheltered homelessness.
“Arlington is on the brink [of] ending chronic homelessness,” Topazian said.
(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) Dozens of law enforcement officers, along with fire department and county government personnel, are on scene of the former Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn.
A smaller police presence seen at the nearly 65-year-old hotel building last night grew into a parking lot-filling operation this morning. A drone could also be seen flying nearby, apparently part of the response.
Initial reports suggest that the property is being cleared of squatters, a significant task in such a large building. Arlington County said in a 6 a.m. press release (below) that the building is being condemned.
The press release suggests that the county expects the operation will take most of the day and will include ensuring those living in the building “have a place to go” and are provided “the services and care they may need.”
Arlington County has deemed the former hotel site at 1401 Langston Blvd. as unsafe and unfit for habitation. Due to the risk posed to the community’s safety and health, the County is condemning the building.
The County’s actions are authorized by the Virginia Uniformed Statewide Building Code and the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, which gives local officials the ability to condemn a structure and secure it to prevent access.
The County has a duty to ensure everyone’s health and safety, including any individuals who have sought shelter inside the building, first responders who may need to respond to calls for public safety assistance, and the community at large.
Using a “whole of government” response, multiple departments across Arlington County, in conjunction with nonprofit partners, are prioritizing the health and safety of individuals at the property, ensuring they have a place to go, and providing the services and care they may need.
The site will then be properly secured.
The property, formerly known as the Key Bridge Marriott, was purchased in 2018 by KBLH LLC (a subsidiary of the owner Woodridge Capital Partners). In March 2020, the County Board approved a site plan project from KBLH to partially demolish and renovate the existing hotel and construct two new residential buildings. In July 2021, Marriott ceased operation of the hotel and the building was closed in preparation for development. The current property owner has not proceeded with the project.
Media briefings are scheduled to be held across Langston Blvd. at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd.), on Friday, March 24, 2023, at both 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Parking will not be available at the 1401 Langston Blvd. property.
The challenging logistics of the operation are not limited to clearing hundreds upon hundreds of rooms. According to scanner traffic, a lack of working bathrooms or portable toilets earlier this morning prompted police to be instructed to drive elsewhere should they need to go.
ARLnow reported in December that the planned redevelopment of the large property, which overlooks the Potomac, “appears to have stalled with no indication of picking back up.”
The redevelopment, approved in March 2020, would have included “the renovation of the hotel — one of Marriott’s earliest hotels, which first opened in 1959 — as well as the construction of three new 16-story residential buildings, with about 300 rental apartments and 150 condo units.”
While the hotel has sat empty, it has reportedly been used as a makeshift shelter for a growing contingent of unhoused individuals. But that has posed challenges for law enforcement; according to records provided to ARLnow, police have responded to the property at least 10 times so far this year for things like trespassing, burglary and suspicious circumstances.
One such incident, from March 6, required a large contingent of officers to search the hotel for a person who said they were injured. That person was not found but a fugitive from Maryland was.
“At approximately 11:20 a.m. on March 6, police were dispatched to the 1400 block of Langston Boulevard for the report of suspicious circumstances. The reporting party stated she was inside the building and was hurt,” APCD spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Responding officers conducted a search of the building and she was not located inside. While searching the property, officers located an adult male inside the building and determined he was wanted by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office (MD) for a Probation Violation. [A suspect], 36, of Baltimore, MD was taken into custody and held on a Fugitive from Justice warrant.”
Arlington Public Schools is changing the way it verifies that students live within the county and will unenroll students who live outside its boundaries.
The new Home Address Confirmation Process is aimed at updating, improving and systematizing how APS keeps track of where students live. Individual schools used to conduct home checks and review proofs of residency, such as leases, as necessary when there were concerns about a family’s living situation.
Covid, however, showed APS that this created gaps in its record-keeping.
“During the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our families changed residences or were displaced entirely, and APS found that some of our information was out of date,” says APS spokesman Andrew Robinson. “This limited APS’ ability to accurately communicate with families.”
The new process involves confirming addresses for students in fifth and eighth grade, who will be promoted to the key transition years of sixth and ninth grades. Those whose addresses cannot be confirmed or who no longer live in Arlington will be withdrawn by mid-May for the upcoming 2023-24 school year, per a letter to families last week.
“We felt there was a need to standardize the process and ensure that it provided us with an opportunity to work with more of our families if their living situation was more complex,” Robinson tells ARLnow. “Moreover, we wanted to ensure that we were able to provide resources to our families that were now experiencing housing instability.”
Ultimately, he says, this provides a “fair and consistent process” for ensuring students live in Arlington and that APS has accurate information.
In the letter, the school system pledged to provide resources to assist families in enrolling in the correct school system. Families of students who are withdrawn, but later establish residency in Arlington, may re-enroll in APS.
This process will also help staff better identify students in complex living situations, such as students experiencing homelessness, and work with families to provide assistance and connect them with county and community services. The number of students experiencing homelessness during the 2022-23 school year is the same as during the 2018-19 school year, per data provided by APS. That number dropped during the early years of the pandemic, when an eviction moratorium was in place.
APS, like all public school systems, is federally required to count students living in a motel or hotel, moving frequently or living “doubled up” with relatives and friends as experiencing homelessness. This definition, enshrined in the McKinney-Vento Act, is more expansive than the one used by the county and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
Recent reporting in Georgia describes how this gap means schools are supporting children who don’t qualify for federal assistance because they have a roof over their heads — even if that roof belongs to a hotel or motel or is shared with a second family.
In these situations, APS staff members will visit families at home to learn more about their specific needs and how the school system can assist.
“APS can work to ensure they can stay in their home school, even if their temporary address changes,” Robinson said. “Children and youth experiencing homelessness also have a right to immediate enrollment in APS when residing in Arlington.”
Approximately 55% of the grant will be for housing — mostly one- and two-bedroom affordable rental units — and the remainder “is for supportive services and staffing,” says Dept. of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick.
This project provides permanent housing in existing, but unoccupied, committed affordable units in Arlington to people either living outside or in one of the county’s four emergency shelters, operated by Bridges to Independence, Doorways, New Hope and PathForward.
In federal government speak, this is known as “rapid rehousing,” says Larrick.
It is part of Arlington County’s “housing first” approach — one in which people are housed without stipulations, says Adele McClure, a candidate for the second district of the House of Delegates, who has worked for many years in Arlington tackling homelessness after experiencing it herself in Fairfax County.
“It’s breaking down the barrier to housing,” she said. “I am a product of those stipulations growing up. When I was in transitional housing, we didn’t have ‘housing first’ model, it was really, really tough for our family. I am thankful Arlington and all of Virginia engages in that.”
The funds will also pay for master-lease agreements with nonprofits to move people into apartments temporarily before moving to permanent housing, Larrick said.
This grant has a three-year term. It is a new funding source and a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) project type for Arlington.
“But the work is not new to Arlington and will be a mix of non-congregate shelter and Rapid Rehousing services for people experiencing homelessness,” Larrick said. “Arlington has a long history of winning competitive HUD funding opportunities across a range of programming areas though.”
McClure says Arlington is well-positioned to address homelessness because of its “continuum of care” model that brings together nonprofits, affordable housing providers and public and private service providers to oversee everything from subsidy programs to street outreach.
The funding will help replace early Covid relief federal funding through the CARES Act, which is coming to an end, she noted.
The grant comes as the county is working on its next strategic plan to help households at risk of homelessness keep their housing and help homeless families quickly regain stable housing.
Arlington County adopted a 10-year plan in 2006. Data over the last decade show that during the out-years of the plan, the population of people living in shelters and outdoors dropped sharply. That rate of decline has since slowed and possibly plateaued.
“We started off really strong and we had that sharp decline, but once you get down to the lower numbers we have, we’re going to get down to the folks who are hardest to serve: those are the folks who don’t necessarily stay sheltered,” McClure said. “I know, here in Arlington, we are concerned about losing that momentum and progress.”
A three-year plan was adopted in 2018. The plan was extended due to Covid, but now, the county is reprising its planning. This round is focused on addressing inequities for people of color, immigrants and seniors.
“Arlington struggles with the availability of resources, funding and stock of affordable housing,” McClure said. “There are large and systemic root causes that perpetuate homelessness… Arlington is trying to address those systemic root causes.”
Interested community members can attend any of the following informational sessions.
- Understanding the Role of Racial Equity in Arlington’s Continuum of Care — Friday, Feb. 17 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Arlingotn Central Library Auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street)
- Domestic Violence & Homelessness — Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at the DHS Lower Level Auditorium, Sequoia Plaza 1 (2100 Washington Blvd)
- Family Homelessness — Wednesday, Feb. 22 from 5-7 p.m. at the Central Library Auditorium
- Single Adults Experiencing Homelessness — Thursday, Feb. 23 from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the Central Library Auditorium
- Youth and Young Adult Homelessness — Monday, March 6 from 5-7 p.m. at the DHS Lower Level Auditorium
- Virtual Open Listening Session — Friday, March 10 from noon-2 p.m.
Changes are happening within the Columbia Pike-based nonprofit La Cocina VA.
Over time, it widened its focus to help immigrants, refugees and unhoused people from all backgrounds. Founder Paty Funegra tells ARLnow the nonprofit was renamed Kitchen of Purpose last month to recognize that shift formally. She also gave a heads-up of some other changes slated for the new year.
Kitchen of Purpose will be putting an $80,000 grant from longtime supporter Bank of America to use to address food insecurity and support workforce development. Meanwhile, the nonprofit will be updating the menu and adding outdoor seating to the café it operates out of its facility at 918 S. Lincoln Street in a bid to attract new customers. Kitchen of Purpose moved into the facility in 2020.
Funegra says the name change was a years-long process that wrapped up last month.
“It didn’t take too long until we had applicants to our program from other ethnicities, immigrants from other places, Americans who speak good English who were interested in food service as career opportunities,” she said.
While La Cocina VA began offering classes in English by 2018, “we were always labeled as ‘La Cocina only serves the Hispanic community,'” Funegra said.
She says many of Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European descent — mostly women — have applied to Kitchen of Purpose’s small business incubator program.
“They already utilize food as not only a way of gathering families, but creating something,” she said.
Bank of America’s $80,000 grant will increase the number of meals Kitchen of Purpose can provide to people in affordable housing and homeless shelters, to senior residents and public schools children during the summer. A portion will support the nonprofit’s workforce development program that helps unemployed people get jobs and training in food service and hospitality.
“It definitely is a large contribution,” she said. “We project this is around 10,000 meals that we can provide our clients, using part of this grant.”
Starting in February, customers can order from the new food menu, with international flavors, Sunday brunch, plus beer, wine and cocktails. The interior will be redesigned and, by the spring, there should be outdoor seating.
“We want to bring more attention to the café,” Funegra said. “Like any other establishment, we’re surviving the pandemic… Some people know about us, but we want to come out with a new look, new name and new personnel to bring clients and raise awareness about us.”
It’s a far cry from where she started: a 167-square-foot kitchen in a church basement. To help small business owners make similar kinds of moves, she says in the near future she wants to provide microloans. That way, they can start building credit and eventually qualify for bigger loans.
“They have the talent, knowledge and passion, but because of their condition, they face barriers to obtain a small seed capital loan,” she said. “We’re exploring opportunities to create a fund that would allow us to inject capital — $5,000 to $10,000 loans — to these entrepreneurs so they can start generating business.”
Dominion Energy is providing grants to two Arlington nonprofits to help increase medical access to the county’s most vulnerable.
The power company announced last night (Oct. 11) that its charitable foundation is providing $7,500 to PathForward for its “Mobile Medical Program” program and $5,000 to Arlington Free Clinic for medications and vaccinations.
These grants are part of the $1.2 million that Dominion is providing to 185 other non-profits in eight states, including $450,000 to 68 organizations in Virginia, through its charitable foundation.
Arlington Free Clinic is located just off Columbia Pike and provides free health care to low-income residents. The grant from Dominion is set to help offset costs for needed prescription medications and vaccinations.
“One of Arlington Free Clinic’s most important services is to provide access to prescription medications and vaccinations our patients need to get healthy and stay healthy,” CEO Nancy White told ARLnow in an email. “Support from Dominion Energy helps ensure that this vital program will continue.”
Courthouse-based PathForward is a nonprofit organization that helps people who are unhoused get the help they need, including finding a home. In July 2021, the organization — which operates the county-funded homeless shelter across from the county courthouse — changed its name from A-SPAN.
The nonprofit’s “Mobile Medical Program” was started about a year ago and its aim is to provide medical and social work services to people who are experiencing homelessness.
“We act as a scout and go out and talk to them. First, we gain their trust and, then, we help with food security, medical needs, and mental health,” PathForward CEO Betsy Frantz told ARLnow.
This often requires two people, a nurse and a social worker, with a backpack full of supplies, like bandages, food, and a blood pressure monitor. The two do a medical check-up and observe behaviors while also offering support and next steps.
“The program doesn’t require a million dollars. It just needs skilled professionals to show up,” Frantz said.
The $7,500 grant from Dominion Energy will go towards providing these services as well as filling the backpacks with supplies. Other organizations and private donors have also given money to the program.
The power company told ARLnow that it was proud to support the two Arlington nonprofits.
“It’s heartbreaking to see people experiencing homelessness and to not know the best way to help. PathForward’s Mobile Medical Program is an innovative strategy to help our unsheltered neighbors by providing basic human needs with compassion and dignity,” Dominion Energy spokesperson Peggy Fox wrote.
“We are grateful to Pathforward for developing this program and to Arlington Free Clinic for its continued service to underserved communities,” Fox added. “Dominion Energy is proud to support Pathforward and Arlington Free Clinic and we applaud the positive impact they are bringing to people’s lives.”
It’s Bike to Work Day — “Bike to Work Day is back… This free event is open to everyone. Arlington will have ten pit stops and BikeArlington will host five pit stops in Rosslyn, Ballston, Columbia Pike, Shirlington, and Clarendon.” [BikeArlington]
Unleashed Dog Leads to Bluemont Brandishing — “At approximately 4:45 p.m. on May 18, police were dispatched to a report of a person with a gun. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was walking in the area when an unleashed dog ran towards him while barking. A verbal dispute ensued between the victim and dog owner, during which the suspect, who is known to the dog owner, became involved. The victim continued on his route, during which the suspect reapproached and allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened the victim.” [ACPD]
Metro Restoring Some 7000-Series Cars — “A seven-month train shortage that has brought lengthy waits for commuters is closer to ending after Metrorail’s oversight agency approved a request to reinstate some rail cars that were pulled from service because of a rare wheel defect. Transit officials submitted a plan to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission to restore a limited number of 7000-series cars.” [Washington Post, WMATA]
Slight Increase in Homeless Population — “Though down by more than half compared to a decade ago, Arlington’s homeless total rose from 2021 to 2022, according to new data. ‘There’s work to do,’ said Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti, parsing the new data during the May 17 board meeting. The… homeless count (conducted Jan. 26 with data recently released) revealed a total of 182 people living in shelters and on the streets in Arlington, up 6 percent from 171 a year before.” [Sun Gazette]
Op-Ed: Arlington Could Be National Model — “Arlington’s Missing Middle draft framework is extremely ambitious and might serve as a model for the entire country if the county board gets the policy details right to enable new construction.” [GGWash]
Group: ‘Missing Middle’ is ‘War’ — “With the release of the Missing Middle Phase Two Report on April 28, and the accompanying consultant analysis, the county is declaring war on single-family areas of Arlington… Developers, who have essentially run out of room among our 26 square miles, have pushed for Missing Middle up-zoning that will be politically and legally impossible to unwind, even if it falls short of stated goals or produces negative results.” [Arlingtonians for Our Sustainable Future]
Big Development Kicks Off in F.C. — “West Falls, a major mixed-use development near the West Falls Church Metro station, broke ground Thursday, less than a week after the development team closed on $391 million of financing. In this first phase of its long-planned development, the project, spearheaded by D.C.-based Hoffman & Associates and joined by real estate giant Trammell Crow Co., will comprise five buildings totaling about 1.2 million square feet.” [Washington Business Journal, Patch]y
Veep Coming to Falls Church — “Kamala Harris coming to [Meridian High School in Falls Church] tomorrow to talk electric school buses? The school didn’t name Harris in an email to parents about the event tomorrow, but they said it will stream live at [whitehouse.gov].” The event is scheduled for 3:40 p.m., which means motorcades through Arlington are likely this afternoon. [Twitter]
Plan for Yellow Line Bridge Work — “The City of Alexandria is preparing for a Yellow Line shutdown in Alexandria later this year due to bridge and tunnel rehabilitation and bringing the Potomac Yard Metro station into the system… Blue Line trains will be running frequently from the airport with a replacement ‘Yellow Line’ route running to New Carrollton during the September-October.” [ALXnow]
It’s Friday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 90 and low of 65. Sunrise at 5:53 am and sunset at 8:20 pm. [Weather.gov]
Dozens of people, including a County Board member, are expected to rappel down the side of a tall building in Crystal City this week.
More than 70 volunteers associated with the non-profit New Hope Housing will be rappelling down the 14-story Hilton Crystal City at 2399 Richmond Highway on Thursday and Friday to raise funds and awareness for the organization.
That includes Arlington County Board member Matt de Ferranti, who is expected to rappel down on Thursday night at the VIP reception.
The public will be welcome to watch “14 Stories of New Hope” on Friday, though, between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the “Landing Zone,” an all-day festival with food, music, and booths.
If you are feeling the urge to safely rappel down a 140-foot-tall building, there could be an opportunity.
“All are welcome to attend and there may be opportunities for people to walk up and rappel,” says a press release.
Those that are rappelling will be doing it safely with the help of “Over the Edge,” a company that helps non-profits with events of this nature.
This isn’t the first time the company has worked with a local organization for this type of event. Back in 2012, the Special Olympics of Virginia held a similar event when folks rappelled down the Hilton Crystal City to raise funds.
First established in 1977, New Hope Housing is a non-profit with a mission of ending of homelessness in Northern Virginia. It operates a number of facilities and shelters in the region, including a 44-bed shelter on Columbia Pike that it runs in partnership with the county and a facility in Bailey’s Crossroads. The organization also runs shelters in the City of Alexandria and Fairfax County.
Those rappelling down the side of the hotel come from a variety of backgrounds, New Hope’s Director of Development Jan-Michael Sacharko tells ARLnow.
Some are newbies, some are ex-military, and at least one is a Hollywood producer. Greg Garcia, Northern Virginia native and the creator of television shows including “My Name is Earl,” is among the expected participants.
My wife is going to push me off of a building.https://t.co/UTKwZCQLdw
— Greg Garcia (@whoisgreggarcia) April 4, 2022
As of last week, the event has raised over $200,000 for New Hope Housing programs, according to Sacharko.
School Bus Driver Shortage — From an Arlington Public Schools email to families: “Due to a shortage of bus drivers, APS will not be able to operate late buses this afternoon, Fri, April 22, or Mon, April 25. Transportation will not be provided for any scheduled late activities at schools today or Monday. Any scheduled athletic events with approved transportation prior to this announcement will take place as scheduled. APS will resume late bus service on Tue, April 26. We apologize for the inconvenience.” [Twitter]
Water Rescue Call Near Chain Bridge — “Water Rescue – #DCsBravest responded for the report of a person in the water in the vicinity of Chain Bridge Road NW. Upon arrival, adult male already safely removed to shore on VA side and is being transported by @dcfireems
with non-serious/non-life threatening injuries.” [Twitter]
PD, FD Help Make Birthday Special — From the Arlington County Police Department: “Happy Birthday, Sarah Elizabeth! Corporal Smithgall first met Sarah Elizabeth while working as a School Resource Officer and has maintained a relationship with her and her family ever since. When he heard she was celebrating a birthday, he enlisted the help of his patrol squad members and Arlington County Fire Department to make it special with a birthday parade, cake and balloons!” [Facebook, Twitter]
Homelessness Org Needs Bedding — “We have moved clients into permanent housing; please help us make it feel like a HOME. We need six bedding bundles.” [Twitter]
It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 75 and low of 54. Sunrise at 6:19 am and sunset at 7:56 pm. [Weather.gov]