Depleted local homeless shelter needs help after winter storm


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless is looking to replenish its supplies after sheltering those in need during the snow storm.

Darlene Sparks Washington, who is the executive director for the organization, says the shelter usually stays open from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

During the storm, they opened from Wednesday to Saturday.

“We were using more toilet paper, more paper towels, more cleaning materials and supplies, more food,” Sparks Washington said.

She says the organization partners with 24 local churches that rotate shelter locations.

Many of the shelters have enough supplies, but when emergencies happen the organization provides what they can when items run low.

Now, they’re asking for things like cleaning supplies, which were used in abundance last week.

Sparks Washington is hoping people can donate to help a place like Portsmouth Volunteers for the Homeless because it offers the homeless a chance to get back on their feet.

“I think the building is sometimes a lifeline. I hear men talking to their grandchildren, women talking to their sons, and daughters trying to reconcile and have as much as a normal life as they can,” she said.

The organization gives the homeless the chance to do laundry, take a shower, and even gives out free HRT passes so they can go to housing appointments.

Sparks Washington says without the community’s support through donations, many of this wouldn’t happen.

“It’s critically important that we continue to do the mission, keep the doors open, provide the supplies, overhead, as well that we get donations.”

To learn more, visit the organization’s Facebook page at

You can also drop off donations to their office at 800 Suite B Williamsburg Avenue in Portsmouth.

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