The West Piedmont Better Housing Coalition was formed in 2004. A steering Committee composed of representatives from the cities of Danville and Martinsville, and the counties of Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and Pittsylvania. A nonprofit 501( c ) 3 corporation was formed as a Continuum of Care (CoC) as defined and required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Continuum of Care (CoC) is a set of competitively-awarded programs created to address the problems of homelessness in a comprehensive manner with other federal agencies.
Initially, Piedmont Community Services, Martinsville, VA, was designated as fiscal agent for the Continuum of Care Steering Committee. Planning funds were provided by the City of Danville ($10,000), the Harvest Foundation ($8,500), and the United Way of Martinsville-Henry County ($5,000). The objectives were: (1) To provide administrative support for the Continuum of Care planning process by providing funds to hire a Project Manager; and (2) To help meet the needs of the region's homeless population through a more comprehensive and coordinated effort.
In January 2004, Piedmont Community Services issued a Request for Proposal on behalf of the Continuum of Care (CoC) for qualified and experienced individuals and organizations with knowledge of homelessness, services for the homeless, and HUD's Continuum of Care requirements and process. The successful proposal was submitted by Virginia Supportive Housing, which assisted West Piedmont through the process of submitting the Continuum of Care Plan to HUD and submitting the year 2004 Supportive Housing application for funding a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). An HMIS is a data collection software designed to capture information over time on the characteristics of persons experiencing homelessness.
The Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, serving as the lead agency for the Danville-Martinsville CoC, submitted the Supportive Housing project application for funding to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In February 2005, HUD announced that a Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance award would be made to Danville-Martinsville CoC for developing a Homeless Information System (HMIS) in the area. Efforts began in October 2005 to implement a Homeless Management Information System for the West Piedmont region.
The WPBHC Board actively recruits representatives from a variety of public and private agencies that serve homeless and at-risk households in the West Piedmont region. This includes housing authorities, community services boards, faith-based leaders, non-profit service providers, departments of social services, businesses, and concerned citizens.