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.
VHC Staff Honored by NYSE — Two radiation therapists at Virginia Hospital Center, Melinda Mack and Amanda Sprecher, were honored during the opening bell ringing at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. [Twitter]
Tomorrow is Arlington’s ‘Community Day’ — “A beloved Arlington tradition, Neighborhood Day brings communities together to enjoy the great outdoors and strengthens ties between neighbors. In our currently socially-distant world, Neighborhood Day 2020 (May 2) is swapping out the traditional outdoor get-togethers and focusing on how Arlingtonians can build community while staying apart.” [Arlington County]
Fundraiser for Shelter Employee Bonuses — “I’m raising money to benefit four emergency shelters in Arlington County. The front line staff at these organizations are heroes who risk their personal health and wellness for those most vulnerable. I want to offer each front line staff member a $5/ hour bonus for their selfless work for at least two weeks.” [GoFundMe, Facebook]
Courtland Towers Store to Become Apartments — “It’ll soon be ‘bye, bye, bodega,’ as Arlington County Board members are allowing the owner of the Courtland Towers apartments in the Courthouse area to replace its longstanding ground-floor convenience store with four additional residential units and other amenities for residents. The proposal had generated pushback from nearby residents and garnered formal opposition from the Clarendon-Courthouse Civic Federation.” [InsideNova]
Roots Closing at Pentagon City Mall — “Toronto clothing retailer Roots Corp. said Wednesday it will close both its stores in Greater Washington. The closure of outposts in Georgetown and at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City come as part of the liquidation of the apparel company’s U.S. subsidiary through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing — a measure being taken to close the stores quickly and in a cost-effective manner, the company said.” [Washington Business Journal]
Fund Created for Local Immigrants in Need — “The Dream Project, a nonprofit organization offering educational assistance to immigrants in Northern Virginia through scholarships and mentoring, has established an emergency relief fund to help immigrant students and families who are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Press Release]
Hotel Donates Rooms to County — An unnamed hotel in Arlington has donated rooms to the county to serve as Permanent Supportive Housing for up to 16 people, reducing their risk of COVID-19 exposure. [Arlington County]
Electric Bills Going Down This Month — “Dominion Energy says Virginia customers will see a $6 discount on their billing each month starting on May 1. ‘The cost of fuel has gone down and we’re passing the savings directly on to customers,’ Dominion Energy said.” [NBC 12 Richmond]
New County Initiative Tackling Hunger — “Arlington County announced a new initiative for the coronavirus era: the Cooperative for a Hunger Free Arlington. We talked to those heading the group — Abby Raphael, Diane Kresh and Amy Maclosky — about what it is and how they plan to help during these tough times.” [Facebook, Apple Podcasts]
County Board Approves Legislative Priorities — “The Arlington County Board today finalized its 2020 General Assembly Legislative Proposals… Arlington’s proposals include requests that the General Assembly renew without a sunset clause the .25 percent transient occupancy tax on hotel rooms that funds travel and tourism promotion in Arlington.” [Arlington County]
Groups Call for County-Owned Power Company — “Eighty years after the idea was first broached, several progressive groups are embarked on a likely uphill effort to have the Arlington government develop its own energy utility. The Arlington Green Party is the latest to sign on to the effort, which was proposed by Our Revolution Arlington.” [InsideNova]
New Operator for Shelter on the Pike — “Arlington has finalized new contracts for operation of the County’s two homeless shelters for single adults beginning in January 2020. A-SPAN will continue to operate the Homeless Services Center in the Courthouse Neighborhood, and New Hope Housing will take over from Volunteers of America – Chesapeake & Carolinas to operate the Residential Program Center on Columbia Pike.” [Arlington County]
Thousands Participate in Wreath Laying — “Despite the cold and the rain, thousands of volunteers came to make sure our country’s fallen heroes were honored with wreaths during the 2019 National Wreaths Across America Day at Arlington National Cemetery. There was no mistaking what this meant to families whose loved ones are buried at Arlington National. One of those families watching volunteers flood the cemetery told FOX 5 they couldn’t interview without crying.” [Fox 5]
Trump Campaign Strategizes at Local Hotel — “Over a 90-minute PowerPoint session at a hotel in Arlington, Va., on Thursday, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Brad Parscale and other senior Trump campaign officials presented dozens of national political reporters their theory of how Trump can win again in 2020.” [Axios]
Nearby: Seven Corners Bridge Rehab Complete — “The rehabilitation of the one-way bridge linking the eastbound Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) service road to Wilson Boulevard (Route 613) is complete, improving safety for drivers and pedestrians and extending the overall life of the bridge.” [VDOT]
(Updated May 16, 9 a.m.) An Arlington County office building in Courthouse that’s home to the county’s 24-hour homeless shelter is cleaning up from some heavy flooding Tuesday (May 15).
A water pipe on the top floor of the seven-story building at 2020 14th Street N. broke Monday night (May 14), according to Jessica Baxter, a spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Environmental Services.
Baxter told ARLnow that “drainage from the broken pipe impacted all areas of the building,” including the county’s Homeless Services Center, other government offices and even the Chelsea Market & Deli and Ragtime Restaurant on the building’s ground floor.
“County contractors are on-site cleaning up the water, repairing the pipe and recharging the chilled water system to restore HVAC services on floors 4-7,” Baxter wrote in an email. “HVAC services for the lower floors were not impacted.”
Baxter says the flooding has not impacted services at the shelter, but it has forced county employees working on the first and fifth floors to temporarily relocate to the other offices.
The county bought the building for $27 million in 2012, in part to open a new, year-round shelter for the homeless. The shelter opened in 2015.
Photo via Google Maps
Pentagon Looking into Helicopter Noise Reduction — After pressure from residents who live near the Pentagon, along with Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), “FOX 5 has learned the Department of Defense is researching ways to reduce helicopter noise and is ready to hear concerns from… neighboring residents.” [Fox 5]
Caiazzo is New ACDC Chair — The Arlington County Democratic Committee has elected Jill Caiazzo, a lawyer and policy advocate, as its new chair. She succeeds Kip Malinosky, who was lauded at last night’s ACDC meeting for his four years of service as chair. [Blue Virginia, Facebook]
Favola Pushes Highway Name Bill — In an effort to allow Arlington to change the name of its stretch of Jefferson Davis Highway, and perhaps even Lee Highway, state Sen. Barbara Favola “is patroning legislation that would allow any Virginia county, city or town to change the name of any highway in its environs, so long as the original name was put in place prior to 1965.” [InsideNova]
Homeless Shelter Busy During Cold Snap — Some 80 people a night were staying at Arlington’s homeless shelter in Courthouse during the recent extended blast of frigid temperatures. The shelter, which relocated to an office building next to Arlington police headquarters in 2015, can accommodate up to 90 people during sub-freezing weather. [Arlington Connection]
History of the Sun Gazette — In his latest column, “Our Man in Arlington” Charlie Clark recounts the history of Arlington’s Sun Gazette newspaper. [Falls Church News-Press]
Printing Business Offers Free Pizza — In a unique partnership, Ballston-area printing business ASAP Screen Printing is partnering with newly-renamed pizza restaurant Alto Fumo to offer customers who spend at least $100 a free pizza. [Press Release]
Flickr pool photo by Jim Harvard
Arlington Adding Winter Shelter Beds — In response to the frigid temperatures, Arlington County says it is expanding the number of hypothermia slots at the Courthouse area winter shelter for singles operated by A-SPAN, “adding 10 more to the current 25.” [Twitter]
Bicycle Beltway Proposal — “A new bicycle beltway is set to be endorsed by the region’s Transportation Planning Board in January. The full Outer Loop would be 45 miles long. The beltway would also have additional connections in the middle, through the heart of downtown D.C. along the National Mall.” [WTOP]
Father of Rep. Don Beyer Dies — “Donald S. Beyer, Sr., the patriarch of the storied Beyer family dynasty in Falls Church, died last Saturday two weeks before his 94th birthday.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Local NYE Bar Options — Looking for a place to ring in the new year in Arlington? Last month we published a sponsored list of five options along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that are still applicable. [ARLnow]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Written by Carolyn Hamm
Arlington County wanted to tackle homelessness effectively by opening a shelter that would also provide employment training and substance abuse treatment. What county leaders accomplished is a model example of how to repurpose an existing 1965 office building into something that benefits the entire community and helps address the nation’s growing homeless problem.
One of the biggest challenges was making sure the converted office building at 2020-A 14th Street North felt warm in winter. It had drafty single-pane windows. The shelter opened in 2015 and that first winter, it was so cold, the county installed plastic sheeting on the windows and used space heaters. But that wasn’t going to work long term.
To replace the windows would have cost more than $1 million and required constructing scaffolding on the exterior of the building. Instead, the county found SuperGreen Solutions of Maryland which sells Indow interior window inserts. For less than 20 percent of what it would have cost to replace the windows, Arlington County installed 304 Commercial Grade custom window inserts. This eliminated the need for plastic sheeting and space heaters and enabled the 50-year-old single-pane windows to perform like new double-panes.
Residents throughout the region have also used Indow inserts in their homes to block drafts and increase energy efficiency.
The inserts can be easily removed and make the shelter’s living areas much more comfortable. “The inserts are integrated so well into the whole frame of the window that you don’t even see them,” said Bryan Pax of SuperGreen Solutions. “Unless someone tells you they’re there, you wouldn’t know.”
Since they are interior storms, the county didn’t need to apply for a permit to put up exterior scaffolding and get a crane to apply exterior storms. The Indow acrylic inserts just pressed into place on the inside.
Addressing the problem from the interior was better for the county, said Pax. “If you want to remove one, it can be easily removed. It was win-win all the way around.”
The building was a strategic location for the Arlington County because it’s in the heart of things, not far from public transportation, the police headquarters and various services. It has 50 year-round beds and an additional 25 winter beds for people who might otherwise suffer from hypothermia.
Nationwide, on any given night in 2016, 549,928 people were homeless in the U.S. and living in a shelter, transitional housing or out of doors, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Earlier this year, Arlington County saw a 33 percent jump in its homeless population to 232 people, according to a survey published by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Repurposing a building for a homeless shelter takes planning and creativity. In addition to dealing with the windows, the county had to add bathrooms, sleeping areas and dining rooms. It also needed convalescent rooms for people recovering from illnesses as well as offices for those in charge of operations. The project’s leaders wanted a commercial kitchen to train people who are homeless in the hospitality industry.
Pax takes pride in helping Arlington County create a more efficient building that works to solve a pressing social problem. He has helped commercial building owners across the region save money on energy costs and create more comfortable work environments by offering them an affordable solution for drafty windows.
For more information, visit www.indowwindows.com.
Since 2013, Arlington’s chronic homelessness rate has dropped 64 percent, and it was the second community in the nation able to claim to have ended veteran homelessness.
This is no accident, officials say: it’s because of the county’s “housing first” model.
“A long time ago… the thought was you need to get someone ready to move into housing — and that has been completely debunked,” said Kathy Sibert, the president/CEO of nonprofit A-SPAN, which works to end homelessness in the county. “What you want to do is get people into housing and stabilized.”
This approach is part of Arlington’s “10 Year Plan to End Homelessness,” which was launched in 2008. The plan aims to ensure that no person or family lacks an adequate and affordable home.
“We try to get to the root causes of homelessness so that we can build the person up to a stable place where they can not only just get housing but maintain it for a longer time,” said Kurt Larrick, assistant director at the county’s Department of Human Services.
Arlington did see a slight increase in homelessness for 2017. In 2016, there were 174 homeless people, and in 2017 that number jumped to 232. However, Sibert said homelessness “ebbs and flows,” which she said helps t0 explain the uptick.
Once somebody is housed, Sibert said, it is much easier to work on their challenges. If they have substance-abuse problems or mental illness, authorities know where they live and can easily set up appointments for them.
Getting a job is much easier once a person is housed, too. Rather than spending each day waking up on the street, schlepping across the county to get breakfast, wandering somewhere else to take a shower, then trekking elsewhere to find clean clothes, when a person is housed they can do all those things in an hour, making it much more feasible for them to become employed.
“To get everything done that you [typically do] in one hour to go to work takes all day [for them],” Sibert said.
The Homeless Services Center in Courthouse, which opened in 2015 in an aging office building, was designed to help homeless individuals do all those things in one location, making it the first place of its kind in the D.C. metropolitan area.
The center has 50 year-round shelter beds, five medical respite beds, 25 extra beds in the winter, employment and life skills training programs, art classes, a full-time nurse practitioner, mental illness and substance-abuse counselors, showers, laundry and mail facilities, free meals three times a day and more.
Arlington County and the surrounding D.C. area is under a heat advisory today.
High temperatures and high humidity will make for a sweaty and potentially dangerous afternoon.
Those who must spend time outdoors today are advised to drink plenty of water, seek breaks in the shade and avoid strenuous activity if possible.
In response to the heatwave, A-SPAN has opened overflow space and set up additional beds at Arlington’s Homeless Services Center in Courthouse.
A-SPAN also offers daytime drop-ins to help those on the streets beat the heat. The drop-in program is offered from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the shelter, located at 2020-A 14th Street N.
From the National Weather Service:
HEAT ADVISORY FROM 12PM EDT MON UNTIL 8PM EDT MON
* HEAT INDEX VALUES… UP TO 108 DUE TO TEMPERATURES BETWEEN 95 TO 100… AND DEWPOINTS IN THE LOWER 70S.
* IMPACTS… RISK OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS FOR THOSE WITHOUT AIR- CONDITIONING OR THOSE OUTDOORS FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD. TO REDUCE RISK DURING OUTDOOR WORK… THE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION RECOMMENDS SCHEDULING FREQUENT REST BREAKS IN SHADED OR AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENTS. ANYONE OVERCOME BY HEAT SHOULD BE MOVED TO A COOL AND SHADED LOCATION. HEAT STROKE IS AN EMERGENCY – CALL 911.
TAKE EXTRA PRECAUTIONS IF YOU WORK OR SPEND TIME OUTSIDE. WHEN POSSIBLE… RESCHEDULE STRENUOUS ACTIVITIES TO EARLY MORNING OR EVENING. KNOW THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HEAT EXHAUSTION AND HEAT STROKE. WEAR LIGHT WEIGHT AND LOOSE FITTING CLOTHING WHEN POSSIBLE AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
A HEAT ADVISORY MEANS THAT A PERIOD OF HIGH TEMPERATURES IS EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TEMPERATURES AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL CREATE A SITUATION IN WHICH HEAT ILLNESSES ARE POSSIBLE.
In addition to the sweltering temperatures and humidity, storms are possible today. Via Twitter:
Stay hydrated, take breaks & check on your neighbors today! #BeatTheHeat https://t.co/yVb5A52OWA
— OEM Arlington Co.Gov (@ReadyArlington) July 25, 2016
Wow. DC's heat index up to 108 at 11a (dew point 78). That's oppressive. https://t.co/6MvlTrgq0q
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) July 25, 2016
Thunderstorms possible today, some could be severe. SPC has us in a slight risk. We'll keep you posted. pic.twitter.com/0mhqUAAXA0
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) July 25, 2016
Snow Possible During PM Commute — Another “flurrypocalypse” is possible during tonight’s evening commute. Forecasters say some snowfall is possible durning rush hour, and the frigid temperatures could allow enough snow accumulation for a repeat of the nightmare commute of Jan. 20. Road crews, however, say they’re ready. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter, Twitter]
What To Do If Someone Needs Shelter — With bitter, possibly record cold temperatures expected this weekend, Arlington County says residents should call the county’s Homeless Services Center at 703-228-1010 if they know of anyone who needs shelter from the elements. [Twitter]
Long-Time Electoral Board Member Reappointed — Allen Harrison, Jr. has served on the Arlington Electoral Board for 29 years and was just reappointed in time for the March 1 presidential primary. Harrison, who is the Republican representative on the Board, is thinking about resigning before the November general elections. He’s the second-longest-serving Electoral Board member in Arlington history. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Sandra Bullock Remembers W-L Cheerleader Days — Oscar-winning actress and Arlington native Sandra Bullock says her Washington-Lee High School cheerleading uniform still fits like a glove. “That might come in handy some sexy night. I don’t know who I’m saving it for,” she told Glamour magazine. [Daily Mail]
ICE Detainer for Sexual Assault Suspect — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Melvin Bonilla, the suspect in a string of sexual assaults in Arlington. Bonilla was arrested by Arlington County Police yesterday morning. [Fox 5]
Opposition to Homeless Shelter Winds Down — With Arlington’s new Homeless Services Center now open across from police headquarters in Courthouse, nearby residents are apparently starting to acquiesce to their new neighbor. Reports “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark: “Many neighbors in condos alongside the Courthouse building at 2020 N. 14th St. have rethought their opposition.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Lockdown Drills for Pre-K Students — An Arlington Pre-K teacher reflects on having her students participate in lockdown drills, which would be used in the event of an active shooting situation. The drills are now routine in Arlington elementary schools, the teacher says. [Washington Post]
Library Launches Sci-Fi Book Club — Arlington Public Library has launched “Strange Lands,” a science fiction book club that will meet monthly at Java Shack in Courthouse, starting Oct. 21. [Arlington Public Library]
VOICE Launches Voter Outreach Effort — The pro-affordable housing group Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement, or VOICE, is launching a voter outreach effort this fall. VOICE plans to concentrate turnout efforts on two low-turnout precincts: Arlington Mill and Glebe. [InsideNova]