Non-profit helps people find homes in Ashland

ASHLAND, VA (WWBT) – We have an update now a non-profit group that's helping people living in hotels find permanent homes.  Ashland Supportive Housing has helped six families move out of hotels and into homes.

Sunni says, "The woman moving into this home in the Highland Park area of Richmond has been living in hotels for nearly two years; she says this program is helping change her life."

Marisa Richards has been longing for a home to call her own:

Richards says, "The hotel that I'm at right now is very scary; there's a lot that goes on there, and I just want to be out of there; I just want to be in my own space and in the comfort of my own environment."

She's getting it thanks to Ashland Supportive Housing and it's Second Chance Housing Program.  Last year, freelance write Lucinda Jones was assigned to cover a proposed ordinance in Ashland that would have prevented people from staying in hotels for longer than three months in any six month period.

Ultimately, town leaders decided they needed more time to think about the proposal and do more research, but Jones and several others came up with a different solution to end homelessness in the area.  The non-profit group helps motel families and others in need transition into permanent homes.

Jones says, "We find permanent housing for these families, and we get with a sponsor, and that sponsor provides the first month's rent and the security deposit, and that's how we are able to move so many families quickly."

The sponsors range from business to churches to families and help provide that up front money that's so hard for these working families to come up with.

Jones says, "The cost of motel families is so expensive; by the time these families reach the end of the month, they've often spent a thousand dollars, and so we take than money that they've already spent and put them into permanent housing."

Ashland Supportive Housing already has a waiting list of families who want and need help, they are just waiting on more donations to make it happen.

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