Homeless Services Center

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Current Size: 80%

Rendering of the Homeless Services Center

Project Background

The City of Harrisonburg purchased 1111 North Main Street in Harrisonburg, which is 3.68 acres with an existing 6,730-square-foot two story building built in 1910 with later additions, from the Shenandoah Presbytery. The City’s goal is to use the property to strengthen our community efforts to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring for residents of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. The facility will include a low-barrier emergency shelter for adults and drop-in center for adults experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity to access resources, wrap-around services, and programs that support their efforts to access housing, achieve self-sufficiency, and personal growth. The project will be approached with consideration for potential addition of other services and/or uses onto the property and/or building in the future, such as transitional housing units and/or permanent supportive housing units.

Facility Design

The City selected the architectural firm MTFA and engineering consultants 2RW and Monteverde Engineering & Design Studio to complete the design.

The existing building will be preserved and renovated, with a connected new addition built containing space for the emergency shelter and drop-in center to operate. The addition will include three congregate sleeping areas with total 80-bed capacity; nine single-occupancy sleeping rooms; two floor manager offices; one common area for shelter clients; three ADA-accessible multi-user bathrooms for shelter clients, each with multiple sinks, toilets and/or urinals, and four showers; two single-user ADA-accessible bathrooms with showers; one single-user ADA-accessible bathroom with no shower; a laundry room with space for up to three washers and three dryers; three offices, including one for a kitchen manager; multi-use area with capacity for 80 dining, 28 temporary beds, and 147 total occupancy; residential-grade kitchen with refrigerator, freezer, and cooking range; pantry for food storage; a computer space for up to two computers; a clean room with space for temporary storage of newly-admitted clients’ belongings and a bed bug zapper; several storage and a single-user bathroom with no shower accessible from the exterior of the building. The addition will have a public entry point for clients, a secured entry point for individuals who are not clients, and a secured entry into the kitchen. The addition will also include an enclosed exterior recreation space with a covered porch and a covered porch at the public entry for clients. The renovated existing structure will include: a medical wing with exam space, two rooms with a five medical bed capacity, and a storage room; a storage area; a conference room; seven offices with total capacity for ten occupants; one open work area with capacity for three occupants; one break room; one common area; one copy area; four single-user bathrooms with no showers; an attic with limited storage; and an unfinished basement. The existing structure will have two secured entry points for individuals who are not clients. The site will have two bike racks with 10 total spaces; two parking spaces reserved for persons with disabilities; 27 non-reserved parking spaces; sidewalk with lighting leading from N. Main Street to the facility and parking areas; public sidewalk fronting N. Main Street and Tyco Street; and concrete bus pad on Main Street.

Excerpt of Site Plan and Project Drawings May 3, 2023 [24.3MB] PDF


The City selected local nonprofit Open Doors to operate the facility following a competitive procurement process. 

The City will require the Emergency Shelter Program to be open overnight three-hundred and sixty-five (365) days a year for individuals 18 or older without children. It will offer a safe place to sleep, personal hygiene facilities, and an evening meal. The operator of the Emergency Shelter will be required to provide at minimum 50 permanent beds. The City views the Emergency Shelter Program as an emergency resource of last resort, used only by people who are literally homeless and have no other option to resolve their homelessness. The City will require for the operator to develop an intake and assessment process that only admits an individual into the Emergency Shelter Program after efforts to divert the individual to safe, alternative housing have been made and there is no other housing option.

From November 1-April 1 the operator will, if necessary, operate a Hypothermia Program with temporary sleeping space. This program will also provide safe shelter, basic needs, and services focused on helping clients exit homelessness and access permanent housing opportunities. During hypothermia season individuals who have not yet been assessed for housing alternatives may be granted temporary sleeping space through the Hypothermia Program, and must within 120 hours of admission go through an intake and assessment process to determine if they are eligible for admission into the Emergency Shelter Program.

The City envisions the Drop-in Center as a welcoming space providing connection to services, access to voluntary programming, publicly-accessible shower facility, laundry facilities, and charging stations. The Drop-In Center is a space for adults to access resources, wrap-around services, and programs that support their efforts to access housing, achieve self-sufficiency, and personal growth.

The operator will be required to employ and supervise staff, develop policies, and manage programming and services for the Emergency Shelter Program, Hypothermia Program, and Drop-in Center.

The operator must run all programs as low-barrier, meaning the programs will:

  • Maintain ADA accessibility;
  • Accommodate service animals;
  • Not discriminate based on protected classes;
  • Not mandate sobriety or treatment;
  • Not exclude people with criminal convictions, poor credit, or eviction histories;
  • Not require documentation of citizenship; and
  • Not turn away clients because of a lack of income or the appearance of an unwillingness to participate in services or employment.

Although the program is low-barrier, possession and use of drugs, alcohol, and weapons in facility and on the premises will be prohibited.


This capital project was approved as a part of the City of Harrisonburg’s American Rescue Plan Act spending plan. The City of Harrisonburg’s operational costs for the facility and its operations are projected to be $200,000 annually.

Community Meetings

February 3, 2023, Presentation [11.8MB] PDF | Presentation Video - YouTube

October 25, 2022, Presentation [1.3MB] PDF | Meeting Notes [190KB] PDF


For more information, please contact Amy Snider at Amy.Snider@harrisonburgva.gov.