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. 

PACEM Board of Directors

Homelessness in Charlottesville: By the Numbers

The Faces of our Guests
Our guests are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Representing a broad cross-section of the area, they are all in need.

Barriers to Leaving Homelessness
There are many challenges to escaping homelessness. Substance abuse and mental health are two of the most common factors.

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Guest Advocacy Makes a Difference
Our Case Manager works with each of our 200+ guests, helping them move back into the community and out of our shelters.


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.

Full PACEM History

PACEM’S place in the community safety net
  • PACEM provided 9,659 total bed nights of shelter during the 2018-2019 winter season
  • PACEM’s shelters were open for 24 weeks (169 nights)
  • PACEM served 250 adults who each stayed at least one night
  • An average of 43 men and 15 women stayed each night
  • The average length of stay was 39 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, 2019, there were a total of 125 adults in emergency shelter beds in our community. 48% of them were at PACEM.
  • Over 80 congregations and community groups participated in PACEM
When are the shelters open?

PACEM’s shelters open in late October and remain open until the middle of April.  Our shelter season spans the time of year when the risk of freezing to death is real for those sleeping on the streets.  Our shelters host as many as 45 men and 20 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 2018-2019 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.