Apartment apartment named in honor of leader in homeless services

Kathleen Sibert is flanked by A-SPAN board chair Tim Denning and interim CEO Betsy Frantz at the naming of an apartment building in her honor.

Kathleen Sibert, who led the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN) from 2008 until earlier this year, will remain a permanent part of the organization through a facility named in her honor.

A-SPAN recently named an apartment building “Sibert House” in honor of the service given to the organization, its clients and the broader community by Sibert.

“Kathy has worked tirelessly to provide support to the homeless, from streets to stability. A-SPAN is pleased to honor her dedication,” said Betsy Frantz, who has served as interim president and CEO of the organization since late winter.

Located in Westover, Sibert House is designed to provide permanent-supportive housing and a foundation to help individuals achieve better health, overcome substance abuse and mental illness, obtain job security, and attain their goals.

“Sibert House is A-SPAN’s bold new step that provides Arlington with a housing solution for its most vulnerable – those experiencing homelessness who require the most oversight, additional onsite care and a dedicated apartment building where this type of enhanced support can transition people from streets to stability,” the organization said.

Among those on hand for the ribbon-cutting were A-SPAN board chair Tim Denning, County Board member Katie Cristol and Arlington Chamber of Commerce CEO Kate Bates.

Sibert in 2008 succeeded Lora Rinker, the founder of A-SPAN, which was created in the 1990s, initially to provide meals to the county’s homeless.

Under the leadership of Rinker and then Sibert, A-SPAN evolved into multi-faceted social-safety-net organization, as well as the operator of the Arlington County government’s year-round shelter facility in the Courthouse area, which provides 50 beds (more during the winter) as well as medical care and outreach services.

That facility opened in 2015, supplanting a smaller winter shelter previously operated by A-SPAN nearby.

Frantz, who was tapped to serve as interim CEO, previously served as CEO of Leadership Arlington/Leadership Center for Excellence and later headed the Virginia Hospital Foundation.

Arlington’s homeless population is a matter of conjecture; annual counts each winter by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments have showed the county’s homeless population averaging about 210 people. In the 2020 count, the total was 199, counting both those on the streets and in shelters.

One of A-SPAN’s focuses in recent years has been eradication of homelessness among military veterans in the community. Working with the state and local governments, Arlington has been able to report zero homeless veterans in recent counts.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

(3) comments

CJE

Arlington has a huge Department of Human Services and many others are employed by human services for-profits and non-profits and volunteer as human services providers. Why are homelessness and persons with behavioral health issues so pervasive in Arlington? ACPD expends a large amount of its resources responding to persons with behavioral health issues who are often homeless.

therewillbeblood

Arlington's numbers, proportional to population, are similar to Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George's Counties, and "better" than City of Alexandria's. This is a national issue and county efforts are strong. Perhaps the steep decline in Federal resources for behavioral health over the past several decades has had a role. This is not limited to Arlington.

CJE

Ridiculous. If the homeless population is about 200 that means there are about 10 persons who are employed in human services by the County, by a for-profit, by a non-profit, or individual volunteers for every homeless person in Arlington. What can you expect from County Government that approves $400,000 per unit new "affordable housing" construction and $200,000 per renovated unit "affordable housing", with only a few units affordable to the low-wage workforce? Solution? Put out a nationwide RFP for new affordable housing and human services providers. Can't do that, cronyism in County Government is at an all time high.

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