St. Joseph's Villa, Richmond, VA

St. Joseph's Villa

Abstract: Founded in 1989 as shelter for homeless mothers and children on the campus of St. Joseph’s Villa, Flagler Home built a reputation among community stakeholders, donors, and leaders in the homelessness field as a first class model for transitional housing. Flagler Home housed families for up to two years as case managers helped them regain their independence through holistic services such as financial literacy, employment training and parenting skills. In recent years, local and national research revealed the transitional housing model to be less effective and less economical than the progressive model of rapid re-housing. Rapid re-housing places homeless individuals and families of any composition into permanent rental housing as quickly as possible, providing the same support services but only at the request of clients.  

In our commitment to adopting best practices, the Villa’s Flagler Housing and Homeless Services participated in a rapid re-housing pilot program from 2010 to 2011 led by Homeward, the planning and coordinating organization for homeless services in the Greater Richmond region. Families rapidly re-housed during the pilot experienced a higher rate of success than those participating in the programs of Flagler Home, and at about one-fourth the cost to the organization. Staff leadership and the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph’s Villa determined that discontinuing the residential component of Flagler Home and fully implementing the rapid rehousing model would achieve more impactful results in reducing homelessness. Flagler completed a successful transition that resulted in better outcomes, positive media attention and accolades from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. 

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Crisis Stabilization Unit

Abstract: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), four million children in the United States have a serious mental health issue that impacts functioning at school, at home or with peers. NAMI also reports that only 20 percent of children with mental illness are identified and receive mental health services. When a child experiences a traumatic event or recurring feelings of depression, hopelessness or anxiety, a crisis cycle may develop that puts him or her at risk of being removed from their family and possibly their community. St. Joseph's Villa provides innovative mental health supports to keep family intact. In 2012, the Villa opened a six-bed Crisis Stabilization Unit for children ages 5 to 17 in need of temporary out-of-home placement due to mental health crisis. The facility is the first of its kind in Virginia. 

Hospitalization for mental illness can be associated with a sense of shame. For that reason, the Crisis Stabilization Unit is designed with the sole purpose of engaging children and their families to find what truly helps them in the midst of crisis. The main goals of the Crisis Stabilization Unit include: 1) Diversion of hospitalization with family-focused interventions; 2) Identification of key elements of the current crisis to prevent recurring crises; 3) Active linkage to community resources determined by the families' expressed needs; and 4) Provision of consultation, education and assessment on children's unique psychiatric needs. The Crisis Stabilization Unit has served more than 500 children and diverted nearly 90% from unnecessary hospitalization. 

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Private Organization Accreditation

Southeastern Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services is a Local Management Entity, covering the geographic areas of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties. SER ensures continuity of care to consumers through access to a quality of care system available 24/7/365 days a year through management of our network provider services.


Harry Hunter, MSW, MBA, Ph.D.

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Peer Reviewer for the month of January 2013, Dr. Hunter has been volunteering for COA since 2005, conducting five site reviews.
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