Greater Richmond Continuum of Care to provide emergency shelter alternatives, activates coordinated plan to aid homeless in midst of COVID-19

The City of Richmond, in coordination with the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care (GRCoC), is taking a number of steps to make sure people experiencing homelessness receive the necessary resources in regard to COVID-19, including emergency shelter access, shelter alternatives when needed and access to reliable healthcare. 

People experiencing homelessness are generally at a higher risk of contracting and transmitting the virus due to a lack of consistent access to basic hygiene amenities and a safe, reliable space to maintain social distance.  Many of the individuals experiencing homelessness in Richmond live with chronic health problems, which puts them at higher risk of experiencing serious symptoms were they to contract COVID-19. 

To address this challenge, the GRCoC is mobilizing to provide additional support to the community. Supported by Homeward, the GRCoC is the coordinated network of more than two dozen homeless service providers.

The City of Richmond will continue to provide its traditional support to GRCoC and fund the immediate provision of emergency shelter alternatives as needed.

Standard services will continue in the face of this public health crisis, and all partners are making extraordinary efforts to address the burgeoning and quickly developing needs.

Dr. Patricia Cook, M.D. of the Daily Planet, a member of the GRCoC, has trained all shelter partners to ensure they abide by CDC guidelines and keep clients safe. 

Shelter intakes and the provision of emergency shelter alternatives will be accompanied by a network of ongoing support including public health education, permanent housing placement and access to healthcare. 

A number of actions are being taken on site at the Annie Giles Center as a part of the larger crisis management plan. 

On Sunday, March 15 the Annie Giles Center was open, and healthcare experts from the Daily Planet were on site to provide screenings to both clients of the Giles Center and inhabitants of the adjacent encampment on property owned by Virginia Commonwealth University.

Residents of the encampment will be given the option to move into a shelter or emergency shelter alternative starting Monday night. Transportation and meals coordination will be provided by the GRCoC, supported by members of the community. 


You can help. The GRCoC partners need donations to meet the needs of the homeless population:

- $10 gift cards for gas stations and food for shelter residents and unsheltered individuals;
- Cleaning supplies, including: soap, hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol, tissues, trash masks, and disposable face masks;
- Thermometers;
- Canned food; and
- Bus tickets for residents.

If you’re interested in donating, please contact Michael Rogers of Homeward at or via phone at 804-343-2045 x 22. If you’d like to donate directly, click here.

If you know or come across someone who is homeless or is within three days of losing their housing, urge them to call the Homeless Crisis Line at 804-972-0813.