The Virginia Coalition for the Homeless was founded by Sue Capers in 1984 to identify solutions to homelessness in Virginia. Churches and shelters were reporting that more and more people were at their doors requesting emergency help. Capers determine that something had to be done, and she traveled around Virginia to find others and called on them to come together. 100 people from across the state attended the first meeting of the Virginia Coalition for the homeless. Richmond lawyer and Virginia’s former Governor Tim Kaine led this first meeting which captured the desperation and isolation of individuals and organizations serving those experiencing homelessness. But the meeting also awakened a feeling of power that together they could identify solutions to this problem, and the Virginia Coalition for the Homeless (VCH) was born.
VCH catapulted itself to success very quickly. The complication of statewide data on homelessness and the formation of a unified group dedicated to combating homelessness fueled a quick response from state government with the creation and eventual expansion of several state programs to prevent and end homelessness. VCEH’s advocacy efforts created programs which provided at least $14 million in 2009 in state funds to homeless assistance and prevention programs across the Commonwealth.
In 2006, VCH changed its name to the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness (VCEH) and hired its first Executive Director in 2008 to take the organization to the next level. VCEH adopted new priorities in 2009 to refocus its efforts and increase its impact on preventing and ending homelessness in the Commonwealth.