Welcome to the Valley Assistance Network (VAN)
VALLEY ASSISTANCE NETWORK (VAN) is a comprehensive Resource & Referral system to help families move from Crisis to Stability.
Through a coordinated network of services, we help people in crisis access information and resources to stabilize their situation and begin their journey to financial stability. We provide immediate crisis intervention services to help ALICE® families navigate the complex social services system and move from crisis to stability.
All About VAN
Valley Assistance Network (VAN) is on the front lines helping local families, businesses, and nonprofit partner respond and recover from the pandemic. Staff and trained volunteers screen families and connect them to agencies that can provide immediate help for rent, utilities, food, and much more.
Staying connected to coronavirus-related news and assistance can be challenging as information changes rapidly. VAN has our pulse on the most up-to-date resources from our local partners as well as state and federal programs to help families who are impacted.
- In the first 8 weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak, our mobile call center fielded over 250 request for assistance – a 75% increase in requests!
- Our Resource Responders get people connected to services quickly, often helping to solve multiple needs.
- Our Budget Coaches help families evaluate their income and expenses and prioritize bills.
- With so many people out of work now – many of whom have never had to ask for help before – our services are more important than ever.
Thanks to partner agencies and generous donations to United Way NSV’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, VAN is helping hundreds of local families weather this crisis and get on more stable ground.
In addition to their ongoing work, VAN agreed to help deploy over $655,000 in Federal CARES Act Funding to the community at the end of 2020. To read more about that click here.
Every day, families in our community make tough choices - like deciding whether to pay for rent or food; or whether to buy medication or put gas in their car to get to work. United Way NSV’s Community Needs Assessment, completed in 2017, found people across our region need help accessing resources, knowing where to turn for help, and improvement toward economic mobility.
That same year, Rutgers University, in collaboration with United Ways across Virginia, released the ALICE Report. The ALICE population stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed. This group makes up almost 40% of our community. Most ALICE families are walking a financial tightrope, don’t qualify for government assistance, and often don’t know where to turn when they need help.
VAN was created through years of research from United Way Worldwide and collaboration from community partners. VAN is guided by a Steering Committee made up of committed community leaders.
Mission: To engage community resources to move individuals and families from crisis to financial security
Vision: An empowered community where all families achieve financial security
Values: The Valley Assistance Network operates under these key values:
- Collaboration: We value and promote effective partnerships.
- Integrity: We are honest and ethical; we have respect for all people, community and cultures.
- Compassion: We treat all individuals with care, concern, and empathy; we are not judgmental.
- Innovation: We embrace continuous improvements, bold creativity, and change.
- Empowerment: We promote strategies that encourage growth and inspire clients to achieve personal success.
- Advocacy: We galvanize people to speak out for change and facilitate collaborative efforts for real solutions
Resources and Referrals (Phase 1)
Provide an easily accessible coordinated network of services to help people navigate resources in our community (ex- shelter, clothing, food, medical care, job training).
Financial Education and Coaching (Phase 2)
Equip people with the tools and skills they need to get better paying jobs, keep more of what they earn, and save for their future. Using an Integrated Service Delivery model, clients will have access to an array of services by the Network’s partners such as budgeting, credit counseling and free tax preparation, with the goal of moving them up the ladder to self-sufficiency and ultimately financial security.
Key Features for the Community
- Reduces the challenges and barriers to accessing multiple services.
- Eliminates redundancy, decreases wait times for clients seeking help.
- Streamlined intake and eligibility requirements to make referrals easier.
- Increases income through VITA and EITC
Key Functions of VAN
- Makes all services (Government, nonprofit) more efficient and effective.
- Enhanced information sharing to provide a better client experience.
- Fills a needed gap in our community by providing a central point of entry.
- Promotes self-sufficiency and economic mobility.
Nearly 70% of clients are considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).
ALICE works hard every day to support their families, but struggles to cover the basics: housing, child care, food, healthcare, and transportation. They are often one emergency – such as a major car repair or medical bill – from falling into poverty. ALICE often doesn’t qualify for government aid or social service programs, so they are virtually invisible to the system, their struggle unseen and unknown.
Learn more about ALICE here.
We Respond to Real needs, in Real Time
We provide immediate crisis intervention services to help ALICE families navigate the complex social services system and move from crisis to stability.
We have helped nearly 4,000 families connect with shelter, clothing, food, medical care, job training, etc. In phase two of the program, we offer the tools and resources to help families become self-sufficient, and ultimately, financially secure.
View our full 2020 Impact Report here.
View our 2019 Impact Report here.
View our 2018 Impact Report here.
Our Top Supporters
VAN is a program of United Way Northern Shenandoah Valley (UWNSV). UWNSV provides back bone support for the program, but funding for the program is raised entirely OUTSIDE of the annual campaign. We rely solely on generous corporations, individuals, and fundraisers, who give sometimes in addition to the United Way campaign to make sure VAN continues to exist.
John L. Harrell and Margaret T. Harrell Charitable Trust
City of Winchester (CARES Act Grant)
Data Across Sectors for Health (DASH)
American Woodmark Foundation
Braddock Street United Methodist Church
Crossroads Community Church
DASH (Data Across Sectors for Health)
Navy Federal Credit Union
Paul and Martha Rees Fund
Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative
Welltown United Methodist Church
The Woltz-Winchester Foundation
Our Community Partners
Valley Assistance Network relies on a rich network of nonprofit and corporate partners to help address our community’s most pressing needs. We are grateful to the following partners who provide in-kind support and manpower to increase our capacity: Valley Health, Amazon, and Northwestern Community Services Board.
Connect NSV is powered by Unite Us, a technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and human service providers. The company empowers both medical and social service providers to work together, integrating health and social care. With Unite Us, providers across sectors can send and receive secure referrals, track every person’s total health journey, and report on tangible outcomes across a full range of services in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. This social infrastructure helps communities transform their ability to track outcomes, improve health and measure impact at scale.
VAN exists thanks to the generous support of many in our community. Please consider donating to help to continue to provide stability to local families.
You can give by:
- Check - make out to United Way NSV (in the memo line put VAN) and mail to 329 N. Cameron Street, Suite 201, Winchester, VA 22601
- Online - Donate right on this website, click here. Add "VAN" to the memo line
- Host a Facebook fundraiser
- Host an event
- Connect us with an organization looking to support an area non-profit
VAN relies heavily on volunteers to keep our operations going, and we are so thankful to those who share their time and talents with us! In 2019, community members volunteered 4,603 hours so support VAN. That’s a value of $117,051!
Click here to view our current volunteer opportunities. We can also accommodate college interns all year round.
For more information, contact Jennifer Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 773-3178.
We are always in need of donated items to assist our clients during a crisis situation. Please contact Jennifer Hall for more details on what is needed at this moment.
If you are interested in learning more about resources that are available through United Way NSV and VAN, please visit the Resources page to learn more about:
- Community Service Directory
If you are in need of assistance, please visit our Assistance Request Page and fill out an intake form. A resource navigator will review your request and get back to you to make the appropriate referrals.
If you are a resident of Winchester City and are in need of rent or mortgage assistance, you can view current assistance programs HERE.
VAN is located on the Our Health Campus at 301 N. Cameron St. Suite 202.
We are open Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Walk-in service is limited. Please call to schedule an appointment.
Call our office at 540-773-3178. During high call volume you may need to leave a message. Someone will return your call.
For the fastest service, please fill out our online intake form here.
Please view our FAQ's here.