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Last tent removed from Reston Strong protest to raise awareness of homelessness

The last tent from Neighbors in Tents campaign at Alcorn’s office was removed earlier this month (via Reston Strong)

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) A demonstration that brought tents to the North County Government Center in a push for more supportive housing in Reston has come to a close after the final tent was officially removed late last week.

Reston Strong, the nonprofit organization behind the protest to increase Fairfax County’s affordable housing stock, announced that the last tent in front of Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s office was removed after it was first installed on April 4.

The woman living in the tent was moved into permanent supportive housing with access to other services, Reston Strong announced on Thursday (Oct. 13).

The announcement culminates the group’s Neighbors in Tents campaign, which aims to address homelessness in the county.

The organization says that more than 20 tents across four sites still remain in Reston.

“The largest encampment is home to individuals who were also displaced in the spring when hypothermia shelters closed,” Reston Strong wrote in a statement. “Several are women, elderly, and LGBTQ+ who are still waiting on housing. The crisis is far from over but for today we celebrate, for tonight one of our beloved unhoused neighbors will sleep in her own bed, in her own room, in her own apartment.”

When asked for comment, Alcorn’s office deferred to the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development.

Ben Boxer, a spokesperson for the department, lauded community partners for their efforts to eradicate homelessness in the county:

All of our Fairfax County shelters are open, and we encourage anyone who is experiencing homelessness to please contact or visit us at these locations where they may obtain food, showers, laundry, counseling, and other assistance to help them meet their basic needs. We also have experienced and knowledgeable individuals at these locations working to create housing plans to meet the individual preferences and needs of our guests. Additionally, we are actively preparing for our upcoming Hypothermia Prevention Program season, beginning December 1, which provides added capacity to ensure that no one has to sleep outside this winter.

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