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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

More details emerge on new Bailey's Crossroads homeless shelter

A conceptual sketch of the new shelter. 
Fairfax County staff shared more details on the new Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter at a meeting of the Mason District Land Use Committee Feb. 28.

The 21,000-square-foot, three-story building, with a full cellar, will be on a half-acre site on Seminary Road, close to the intersection with Columbia Pike and Leesburg Pike.

An old brick building on the site has already been taken down, and the site has been graded. The county plans to award construction contracts next fall. Construction would happen in spring 2018 through summer 2019, and the building would be ready for occupancy in fall 2019.

The new $12 million shelter will replace the existing Bailey’s Crossroads shelter on Moncure Avenue and will be less than a quarter of a mile away. It will have a similar footprint as the old one-story shelter, but will have a much greater capacity. “It will fulfill our needs for the next 25 years,” said project coordinator Joan Beacham.

The first floor and cellar level will have 52 emergency beds, with six beds per room. There will be five rooms for men and three for women. At the current Bailey’s Crossroads, 74 percent of the clients are male.

The two top floors will have 18 supportive housing units, called “personal living quarters,” for people transitioning out of homelessness but not yet ready for independent living. Those units would be 250-square-foot, single-occupancy efficiency apartments with bathrooms and kitchenettes.  

The shelter will also have four “medical beds” for medically fragile people who need an IV or health monitoring.

The building will have a dining room, laundry facilities, and space for administration and activities, such as housing, job, and financial counseling and AA meetings. The site will also include 24 parking spaces and a courtyard.

There will be 15 staff members during the day – including administrators, case managers, and a cook – plus volunteers and two to four staff on the night shift.

In a departure from previous policy, clients are allowed to stay inside the shelter during the day. There is a 9 p.m. curfew on weekdays, and 10 p.m. on weekends. Homeless people not staying at the shelter can come for drop-in services during certain times on weekdays.

Security measures will include cameras, alarms, an electronic lock on the front door requiring people to be buzzed in, and staff assigned to patrol the area every 30 minutes.

In addition, a community advisory committee will be created to promote communications among neighboring residents, businesses, and the shelter.

Several people who live near the both the existing shelter and the new one expressed some concerns at the MDLUC meeting about the shelter having a negative impact on the community.

It’s not just the shelter residents who are causing problems; it’s the overflow, “the people who can’t get into the shelter that you don’t have any control over,” Dave Sheppard, a resident of Lacy Boulevard, told the county officials. “They are wandering around our neighborhood camping out.”

Margaret Coleman, a resident of Summers Lane, said she supports efforts to help the homeless but said there are problems with crime and “people sleeping at bus stops. The police are there every day.”

She said the community needs to be informed and volunteered to serve on the community advisory council.

“We welcome your voice at the table,” said Dean Klein, director of the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness.  He urged people interested in joining the council to contact Mason Supervisor Penny Gross, who will be in charge of setting it up.

“I would not minimize the daily challenge of people living near the shelter,” Klein said. The new shelter will replace an obsolete, 30-year-old facility. Being able to provide temporary housing is “a huge step forward” in providing a longer-term solution for a hard-to-serve population.”

Tom Barnett, of the Office to End and Prevent Homelessness, presented some statistics on the residents of the current Bailey’s shelter: One-third are 51 or older, 8 percent are military veterans, 11 percent survivors of domestic violence, and many have chronic health problems.

Staff will give another presentation on the new shelter at the March 21 meeting of the Bailey’s Crossroads/Seven Corners Revitalization Corporation. The Mason District Land Use Committee will consider whether or not to endorse the project on May 23. After that, there will be public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

The BoS has to approve a special exception for the project because it would have a higher floor-area ratio (FAR), meaning higher density, than currently allowed in the county’s Comprehensive Plan. 


  1. I’m sure other districts and communities are just clamoring for shiny new homeless shelters! We get the best development, don't we folks?

    1. Yes, in fact.

    2. Another Mason District homeless shelter in Seven Corners is being expanded:
      ...demolition of the existing and replacement with a new facility for the Patrick Henry Shelter."

  2. Very attractive. It's a significantly better looking building than the old Vet building that previously occupied the site, and certainly much more attractive than the eyesores that take up the Columbia Pike side of Bailey's Crossroads. Especially, the defunct Safari Lounge.

    It also, quite obviously, will be a more functional building and be able to house more services than the current Mason District homeless shelter.

  3. I'm glad Landmark avoided these people. Close call. Phew.

  4. this is much nicer for the homeless of the area than what they currently have. anyone complaining about not wanting this near them is cruel (i live 2 blocks from it and think its nice)

  5. so, big question here, who is paying for this? taxpayers?

    1. Funds for this were in a bond passed by voters in November.

    2. Current shelter is older than thirty years.

    3. It looks nice, ill move in.

  6. According to the picture, it seems that the fence is too low....

  7. Pickett Street in Alexandria is being transformed from warehouses to luxury apartments. And what do we get, a homeless high-rise, MS 13 murders, businesses shuttering their doors and a social service palace. Is their lead in Mason's water?

    1. You also got several new businesses moving to the area (thai, mexican, the lebanese restaurant), lots of good news stories regarding volunteering and community outreach and the arts (and that's just in the past month). But by all means everything here is terrible and we live in Compton.

    2. LOL! Thank you for putting/keeping things in perspective.