• Winner: Second Place
  • Date: 1/29/2019
  • Rotary Year: 2018-2019
  • Award Category: Club Partnership Service
  • Club NameWinchester
  • Member First NamePaul Magness
  • Address: 
    700 Frog Hollow Road
    Winchester, VA 22603
    United States View on Map
  • Email: paul.magness@ms.com
  • Brief Description: 
    It is estimated that there are between 250 to 300 homeless people in Winchester and Frederick County. In February, 2018, the Winchester Rescue Mission opened a women’s shelter and in three months’ time they had to turn away more than 50 women because of being at capacity. The “Ray of Hope Housing Project” would allow an existing building to be renovated for housing up to 14 women who would otherwise be homeless.

    This project is a partnership between the Area One Rotary Clubs, the Winchester Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity of Winchester-Frederick-Clarke, and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. These established organizations are partnering to address homelessness in the female population because of limited shelter options in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

    Habitat for Humanity of Winchester-Frederick-Clarke will facilitate the acquisition of the building that would be remodeled or converted into the shelter. The space would be approximately 2,000 square feet and will require renovations in order to perform as women’s transitional housing. This grant will provide the initial funding for the needed renovations.
    The objectives of this project are to:
    • provide shelter to women who are living on the streets, camping outdoors, or living in cars or abandoned buildings,
    • provide a space where case management services could be offered, to aid in meeting the long-term needs of the guests, and
    • provide an environment that supports well-being.

    Many individuals who experience homelessness have a severe mental illness or a chronic substance use disorder and without the proper shelter their symptoms of these diseases become exaggerated. By providing shelter these clients could engage in treatment leading to more positive outcomes.
  • Participation of Club Members: 
    The “Ray of Hope Housing Project” will provide renovations to the existing building as it is transitioned into housing. Rotarians would provide manual labor for the project in the form of assisting with painting, tearing down walls, general site readiness, clean-up and the like. In addition, Rotarians will assist with moving beds and other office items into the building once the renovation is complete.

    This project is a partnership between the Area One Rotary Clubs, the Winchester Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity of Winchester-Frederick-Clarke, and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. These organizations would inform the general public by distributing a press release to the local media including the two local newspapers, news station, local TV and radio stations. The press release would be shared on the social media sites of each organization as well as on their websites. All of the communication would include the Rotary Cogwheel. We would offer follow-up stories on the progress made with the renovations and would hold a ribbon-cutting event for the official opening of the house. We would also further highlight the positive impact the house has on the individuals it serves once the facility is opened.
  • Resulting Benefits: 
    In 2016 the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition launched a regional drug treatment court in response to the opioid epidemic that was claiming lives in the area.
    Many of the clients entering the program are denied entry into housing because they suffer with the disease of addiction, or because of a mental illness. There is currently more housing available for men than women in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. A local halfway house offers six beds for men, while there are only two for women. One of the eight dimensions of wellness identified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is environmental wellness described as “good health by occupying pleasant, stimulating environments that support well-being.” Stable housing provides the foundation upon which people build their lives and without a safe place to live, it is nearly impossible for one to achieve good health or their full potential.

  • Additional Material or Information #1: 
    The attached video is an overview of the newly purchased Women's Shelter in Winchester. We will begin construction and upgrade the facility to house up to 15 women. The other side of the duplex will have the ability to house a family with children. This home will work directly with the Substance Abuse Coalition to support women transitioning from that program back into society.

    This project would significantly improve the lives of the less fortune by offering them shelter. In addition the location of the shelter would allow the women to receive meals at the local Winchester Rescue Mission, a shelter for men. The location is also within walking distance to the Our Health Community Campus, a shared space of 24 partner agencies including a health clinic, dental clinic, employment commission, the department of social services, and health department. Meeting people where they are both geographically and emotionally is the essence of effective outreach to those who are homeless and the beginning pathway to engaging them in treatment and services. This location is central to the services these women would need to change their lives.

  • 1st Supporting Document: 
    IMG_2560.MOV