Our Community Place has been serving the homeless population in Harrisonburg since the early ’90s. Beginning as a soup kitchen, OCP has now expanded into a full-fledged day program, providing basic necessities like showers and hot meals. They served 23,000 meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, up from 19,000 the year before. But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought another glaring need to the forefront: the demand for permanent housing assistance.
It’s not uncommon for property management companies to put up barriers, making it difficult for those who are low-income, have been previously incarcerated, or have a history of eviction to gain access to equitable housing. So OCP began working with area landlords to help them understand the needs of their client population. Last year, they placed an upwards of 50 residents in permanent housing, and have solidified 15 placements so far in 2021.
We spoke with Executive Director Sam Nickels for this Hear Together profile. You can listen at the audio link below, and learn more about Our Community Place on their website.