The Richmond Department of Social Services is scaling back its hours at a satellite location in Church Hill, a decision that is tied to Mayor Levar Stoney’s relocation of the city’s cold weather shelter to Shockoe Valley. Moving the shelter from the decrepit Public Safety Building on North Ninth Street to the Conrad Center in Shockoe Valley displaced the city’s Office of Community Wealth Building from the space. The Stoney administration relocated the anti-poverty office to the East District Center at 701 N. 25th St. in Church Hill. To accommodate the transplanted programming, the administration moved about 20 social services employees downtown. At the same time, the Department of Social Services decided to cut its hours of operation at the center, meaning residents seeking to apply for federal safety net programs or referrals for emergency services, such as housing, medicine or food, are more likely to have to go downtown. Social Services had operated the 25th Street satellite from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. The location will now be open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The new hours, which took effect Oct. 15, were posted on the front doors. Also contributing to the decision to cut back the hours at the location was a lack of foot traffic, said Shunda Giles, director of the Department of Social Services. Fewer than 1,000 people sought services at the center last year, she said. In August, 29 people — about one a day — visited.
Mayor Stoney’s Administration moves 20 social services employees downtown RTD’s Mark Robinson reports: