The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to lend $95,000 to the private industry effort to build a permanent shelter for the homeless, apparently guaranteeing that the building will be completed early next year.
Most of the cash, supplies and services needed to build the $750,000 structure have been donated by the construction industry and other members of the community. However, the last year's economic downturn has kept the project short of its goal, and the private industry organizers asked the Board of Supervisors to help at a crucial juncture.
Tuesday's board meeting was the first to be captured by cameras from Cablevision of Loudoun under its mandate to provide public service programming. At one point, Chairman Betty W. Tatum (D-Guilford) said to Supervisor Steve W. Stockman (R-Broad Run), "We did notice a change in your behavior so far."
The $95,000 interest-free loan for the homeless shelter will be made in two installments from the county government's capital improvements program reserve under the action approved by the county board this week. The fund-raising efforts of the private industry organizers represent "a terrific amount of money we're not having to spend," Tatum said before Tuesday's vote.
The shelter, which is still under construction on a county-owned site just south of Leesburg, will house single women and families for up to a year when it is completed. Job counseling and training will be among the services provided at the shelter, which will be operated by the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America under a contract with the county.
With room for about 40 people at a time, the shelter will not meet the needs of all the county's homeless. Officials say they still may have to house some men and others at area motels. In addition, the private, church-funded Emergency Housing Alliance cares for dozens of homeless people every night of the year.
In another housing-related matter at Tuesday's meeting, the board officially recognized the demise of the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee and created a new panel, the Affordable Dwelling Unit Advisory Committee, which will have eight to 14 members.
The new committee will be asked to help draft an ordinance, similar to one in place in Fairfax County, establishing a requirement that some new development projects include moderately priced housing. Some members of the former Loudoun committee, which was in existence for two years, may be included on the new panel, officials said.
Supervisor H. Roger Zurn Jr. (R-Sterling) asked that the new committee issue a report to the board within three months, but some other board members said that such a time limit would be too restrictive. The county Office of Housing Services is seeking applicants for the panel.
In other action Tuesday: The supervisors sent to committee a proposed agreement with people living near the county landfill under which the county would establish a $200,000 fund in the next budget year for improving water-quality monitoring or providing alternate water service if the landfill contaminates nearby wells.
The board amended plans for the Belmont Forest "new town" to shift an 11-acre elementary school site from the town's center to a site adjacent to the Ashburn Farm subdivision, so the 11 acres can be combined with a proposed Ashburn Farm high school site.
The supervisors halted negotiations with a firm to handle residential recycling services in the county, and directed the staff to consider a new bidding process or a county-run service. The original bidding process was a result of a citizen committee's study.