Provided by Annemarie Landry
Woodbridge HUGS (Help Us Grow Strong) invites area residents to its First Annual HUGS/Tiny House Gala on Saturday, April 30 from 6:00-10:00 p. m. at Sacred Heart Church Parish Hall, 12975 Purcell Road, Manassas, VA 20112. Tickets are $25.00 ($20.00 if purchased before April 1). Ticket price includes food and beverages catered by area restaurants, Silent Auction, Raffles, live band -The Wicker Lee Band (classic rock), guest speakers and much more. Purchase tickets or make a tax deductible donation at helpusgrowstrong.org. (Or call 703-895-0044.)
Woodbridge HUGS (Help Us Grow Strong) is an IRS registered 501(c)3 non profit organization started in June 2015. HUGS provides basic needs to the unsheltered homeless living in tent communities in the woods, while working towards affordable housing in Prince William County. It is run solely by volunteers so 100% of money raised goes directly into caring for the immediate needs of area homeless and the purchase of suitable land and building materials.
Despite being one of the richest counties in the country, Prince William County still has a homeless population of 409 according to the 2015 PIT (Point in Time) Count done by the Prince William County Department of Social Services. HUGS is interested in implementing a program called Housing First- one that’s proven successful (about 80%) in other areas of the country and Canada – via Tiny Houses. The program seems obvious at first yet is counter to more traditional forms of dealing with homelessness (60% success rate).
HUGS founder Terry Twomey states, “With Housing First, an individual is given permanent housing – what a homeless person needs the most – which is followed by intensive, individually tailored case management. Within three to six months, they are then asking for that next positive step towards becoming the best version of themselves that they can be.”
“HUGS’s goal,” says HUGS co-director Annemarie Landry, “is to employ Tiny Houses to get the unsheltered homeless off the ground and out of a tent and into a safe, secure place where they can heal and move forward.” Why Tiny Houses? They are relatively cheap, fast and easy to construct. Additionally, it is less expensive to house a person than the cost for the endless cycling in and out of jails, emergency rooms, police, crime, etc.
While many of the homeless work, they are unable to afford housing in our county. They would need to work 97 hours a week at minimum wage ($7.25/hour enacted in 2009) to afford a one-bedroom $1000/month apartment in this county. PWL Sadly, many of them also have mental/drug/alcohol issues needing treatment which they cannot get easily living in a tent in the woods.
Please visit helpusgrowstrong.org and or on Facebook Facebook.com/Woodbridge HUGS for further information on the Gala, the homeless, volunteer opportunities or to book a speaker. Woodbridge HUGS can also be contacted at WoodbridgeHUGS@gmail.com or 703-895-0044.