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ACTS Taking Over, Expanding Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center in Woodbridge

By Uriah Kiser September 19, 2013 5:00 pm

7 Comments

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – The Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center will welcome a new operator and expand its services to aide the area’s homeless population.

Action in the Community Through Service (ACTS) was selected by Prince William County to run the homeless public shelter on U.S. 1 in Woodbridge. The keys to the building are expected to quietly be passed from current operator Volunteers of America on Monday, Sept. 30.

Several of the programs to help homeless residents already in place by ACTS across Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park, will be also be utilized at the Hilda Barg Shelter including a employment training program, and assistance with personal financial management and helping those at the shelter back on the road to having a home of their own.

““You don’t want to have a homeless person stay homeless, that doesn’t solve anything,” said ACTS Director of Development Tom Benjamin.

The shelter is publicly owned, and Volunteers of America’s operations contract was not renewed. Under a new agreement with ACTS, Prince William County will pay $427,597 in a 1-year agreement with the charity to operate the facility. The agreement can has an annual renewal option up to five years, said Benjamin.

The biggest challenge at the shelter remains finding affordable housing in this area so those inside the shelter to transition into permanent homes. ACTS works with various landlords who are willing to set aside properties and make them affordable.

“You often have what we call the ‘working poor,’ where people are working 40 to 60 hours a week, and they just don’t have enough money for down payment or first month’s rent, and it helps when we can provide them with that infusion of cash to get them started,” said Benjamin.

ACTS currently operates an emergency homeless shelter in Dumfries.

*This story has been corrected.

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  • Jim Riley

    ACTS does excellent work and I am glad to see that they will be taking over operations at the Hilda Barg homeless shelter.

    • susan norcross

      really so you really…… you are all for putting innocent people out of work?

      • Mouse

        It is very sad. And I assure you, as a former employee of ACTS (and yes, I resigned)none of the higher ups at ACTS is giving a single thought to the people they are putting out of work. Nor are they thinking of the people they are going to help. Do not be fooled. This is all about publicity and attention for an organization with lots of dirty little secrets that will eventually come to light.

  • Ashleigh

    Unfortunately, our church will no longer be able to support The Hilda Barg Canter. It is sad to see this longstanding relationship end but we simply cannot abide by or support the way ACTS treats people.

  • Potomac Clubber

    Can they just shut down the homeless shelter and build new one somewhere else? The area surrounding the shelter is just infested with bums and beggars.

  • Leah

    I would just like to correct one thing in the article.

    ACTS does NOT currently operate a homeless shelter in Dumfries as the last line states.

    The homeless shelter they did operate on Route 1 was flooded by a sprinkler system back in January and the shelter never reopened.

    I discovered this after a representative came to our church to speak to try and garner donations for ACTS. She presented all kinds of statistics about their programs including the homeless shelter which had already been closed for several months and which they had no intention or ability to reopen.

    When I discovered this, I really felt we had been lied to. They knowingly tried to deceive us into thinking they had a homeless shelter that was currently open when it had been closed for months just to get money. Why not be honest?

    And if you think I was surprised you should have seen the reaction of a member of the ACTS Board of Directors I met at another event later in the summer when I was the one who informed her that the shelter had not yet reopened! Seems they are trying to hide facts from their Board of Directors. So sad.

    Our church has also decided to pull its financial and volunteer support from ACTS.

  • anonymous

    Hummmm Really really sad how they put innocent people out of work. Have they contacted any of the current employees to offer them jobs? It is so sad to hear from different people how they are fooling the community into thinking that they have the old shelter in Dumfries open when they do not. They claim to try to help people but they really don’t.