PACEM is a grassroots organization that coordinates space and volunteers to provide shelter for individuals in our community who are homeless. More than 80 faith congregations and community groups and 3,000 volunteers in the Charlottesville area come together each winter to address the need for shelter by opening their doors, serving evening meals, giving financially, and providing companionship. PACEM believes that a welcoming, safe place to shelter is the first step to addressing the crisis of homelessness.
Homelessness in Charlottesville: By the Numbers
Our history: a passion for helping the homeless
In 2003, Charlottesville clergy and homeless advocates created PACEM after members of the Downtown Ministerial Alliance shared the experience of showing up for work in the morning and regularly finding homeless neighbors sleeping in the doorways. TJACH’s 2004 Homeless Census supported the experience of the downtown clergy. Dozens of individuals were living in the streets, in the woods, in their cars, in abandoned buildings, behind garbage dumpsters, or around churches in the middle of winter. With a pressing need for shelter, the Downtown Ministerial Alliance and TJACH joined together. They gave their grassroots initiative the name PACEM.
PACEM’S place in the community safety net
- PACEM provided 9,591 total bed nights of congregate shelter during the 2019-2020 winter season
- PACEM’s congregate shelters were open for 32 weeks (228 nights)
- PACEM served 213 adults who each stayed at least one night
- An average of 35 men and 11 women stayed each night
- The average length of stay was 45 nights
- PACEM partnered with the Salvation Army to provide a Warm Room for guests to stay when our beds were full
- On the night of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH) Annual Homeless Census, conducted January 23, 2020, there were a total of 188 individuals (including children/youths) in emergency shelter beds in our community. 33% of them were at PACEM.
- Over 80 congregations and community groups participated in PACEM
When are the shelters open?
PACEM’s shelters season spans the time of year when the risk of freezing to death is real for those sleeping on the streets. This season our shelters will host as many as 25 men and 10 women each night. PACEM’s shelters are “Last Resort,” a place to go when a homeless person is seeking shelter and has no other options.
More than just shelter: PACEM supports our guests as they move from street to home
PACEM supports our guests in moving back into the community and out of our shelters. Our Case Manager/Advocates work with each of our more than 200 guests each winter, meeting with them one-on-one at least every 14 days. Our goal is to help them along the path from street to home. A total of 50 individuals moved into a stable home during the 2019-2020 shelter season. These homes include private, market rate rental apartments, moving back in with family and friends, public housing, nursing homes, and assisted living. In addition to those who found stable housing, we helped guests get into a more structured shelter with work and/or sobriety requirements and guests reconnected with their family support network.