Hilliard House Rebrands, Introduces New Executive Director -

Friends & Neighbors

Hilliard House Rebrands, Introduces New Executive Director

Organization changes name to reflect its “housing-first” approach

Hilliard House today announced the launch of its new name, Housing Families First, to more accurately reflect its approach to solving homelessness in Richmond.

Known for many years as a shelter for families, Hilliard House shifted to a “housing first” model in 2010. Born out of this concept was the Building Neighbors program, launched in 2011, which leverages a community network to help families overcome barriers to permanent housing.

The Hilliard House and Building Neighbors programs now serve Richmond families under the Housing Families First brand.

“While we will still offer emergency shelter for families in need, finding permanent housing is our top priority,” said Board Director Caroline Nowery. “A home creates the stability a person needs to manage other aspects of life. We believe every family deserves a place to call their own.”

Since the Building Neighbors program began in 2011, the number of families served by Housing Families First has tripled. More than 68 families found permanent housing through this program in 2014.

The “housing first” model has staying power. Most of Housing Families First clients (83%) remain in their homes for 6 months or longer.

The organization also welcomes a new executive director, Beth Vann-Turnbull, to the team. Vann-Turnbull took the helm on November 24.

“Beth brings 17 years of non-profit experience, including 12 of which she worked with families experiencing homelessness.  Combined with her passion for housing, we are delighted she has accepted the position and have full confidence that she will champion our mission to provide families with the tools necessary to get back home,” said Nowery.

Looking ahead

Housing Families First will add a new “Community Housing Navigator” position, funded by the Virginia Housing Solutions Program. The position is specifically designed to connect clients to housing, coordinate landlord outreach and improve retention efforts among all agencies in the region.

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