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PORT Emergency Winter Shelter Program

Dear Decision-Makers,

I am Minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Peninsula, a small congregation that is nonetheless a big supporter of the Living Interfaith Network (or LINK) of Hampton Roads.

For many years, members of my congregation have helped to provide food, shelter and compassion to the hundreds of homeless citizens who are sheltered each Winter by LINK’s PORT program. It is a significant source of pride to us that, limited though our resources are, we can be hosted by a larger congregation twice or more each Winter in order to staff this important shelter program. When we ask ourselves important theological questions such as "Who is our neighbor?” and "Whom do we serve?”, it matters that the hundreds of people for whom PORT can be a literal life-line are part of our answers.

I was outraged to learn, then, that PORT is being stripped of its funding for reasons that appear little more than technicalities. I write to ask you to reconsider your decision. Hundreds of our disadvantaged citizens are asking you to remember that they are your neighbors, too.

Yours, in faith,

Rev. Andrew C. Millard Ph.D.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula
13136 Warwick Blvd, Newport News VA 23602

LINK of Hampton Roads, Inc., first introduced the PORT Emergency Homeless Winter Shelter Program to the homeless in Newport News during the winter months of 1993/94. 

The shelter ended its 16th year of PORT on March 25, 2009, but continues to be one of the most innovative emergency shelter efforts on the Peninsula that provides a continuum of comprehensive assistance to homeless men, women and children and is financially supported with grants by the City of Newport News, Department of Housing and Community Development and volunteers from interfaith groups from the Greater Virginia Peninsula.  

LINK is now the largest homeless provider on the Peninsula, both of emergency shelter and supportive housing to chronically homeless persons with disabilities.

 

CLICK HERE to download 2013-14 PORT Statistics

Annual COC  Report - 2013 - 2014 PORT

PORT 2013 - 2014 Season Report

The PORT program is designed for interfaith congregations located in any area of Newport News to come together to open their parish or social halls and provide food and shelter for individuals or families who would normally spend their nights sleeping on the streets, in cars, or perhaps in empty buildings or in the woods.  Other client services provided at the PORT sites include: planning, delivery of service, coordination of services, sharing of information, community referrals, central intake, case management, collection of homeless data, medical referrals, on-site medical evaluations and dental care, establishing standards for the shelter sites, provision of transportation, flu/pneumonia shots, information for affordable housing, job placement and job referrals, locating and providing additional support services not covered by the basic services provision, obtaining identification for the homeless, filing taxes, advocacy, raising public awareness of poverty and homeless issues, developing and maintaining food resources, providing nutrition education, AA, N.A, life skills, access to assisted living and coordination of information and referrals among other service providers.  The purpose of these services is to meet the holistic and, therefore, total needs of the client, emergency, short and long term. 

 

Read about PORT from the Daily Press in May 2, 2008 - "A PORT in a Perfect Storm"

LINK would like to thank all participating community partners for their help in the PORT program:

  • Catholic Charities

  • Center for Child and Family Services

  • Christopher Newport University Students

  • Denbigh Lions Club

  • Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board

  • Hampton/Newport News Salvation Army

  • Hampton University Students

  • Healthcare for the Homeless

  • HELP Free Clinic / A Night's Welcome Shelter

  • Jewish Family Services

  • JOB Consulting

  • Julius Conn Gym Shower Program

  • Lackey Free Clinic

  • Langley Air Force Base

  • LINKs CANLINK Permanent Supportive Housing Programs, Workforce Center, Food Pantry, Clothing Closet, Household & Furniture, Transportation and Program

  • Mary Immaculate, Sentara and Riverside Hospitals

  • Newport News Sheriffs Department

  • Newport News Department of Human Services

  • Newport News Fire and Rescue Squads

  • Newport News Police Department

  • Newport News School Administration

  • Newport News Public Health Department

  • Newport News City Government

  • Newport News AA/NA groups

  • Office of Human Affairs

  • Peninsula Agency on Aging

  • Peninsula Institute for Community Health

  • Peninsula Workforce Development

  • Spencer's Furniture

  • St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church

  • Transitions Family Violence Shelter

  • United Way First Call for Help

  • Veterans Administration

Faith-based communities of Newport News, York County, Williamsburg, and Gloucester.

 

 

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