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The Oceanfront Outreach peer specialists, also known as the Pinkies, were one of six recipients to receive a human rights award during the 21st Annual Human Rights Awards Program on April 29. Recipients were selected by members of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission based on their efforts to promote cultural diversity, social awareness and human rights in our community. 

The Oceanfront Initiative, which was launched as a pilot program in July 2014, is designed to enhance outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness who are at the Oceanfront. During the pilot program, six peer outreach specialists, contracted through the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center and under the supervision of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services, provided a presence at “hot spots” on the boardwalk during the week. The peer specialists, or Pinkies, worked in collaboration with the Virginia Beach Police Department. They provided emergency assistance such as food and clothing and assertively engaged homeless individuals in enhanced services designed to move them off the boardwalk and into housing and better opportunities. By the end of the pilot program in November, people were served through the initiative.

In December of 2014, the Virginia Beach City Council approved year-round operation for the Oceanfront Outreach Initiative. The initiative is now managed by the city’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation. 

Congratulations to the Pinkies on their well-deserved honor and award!