Non-profit in need on help

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - 12 On Your Side goes inside a non-profit in downtown Richmond -- under fire for building code violations that could shut it down. The organization helps people out of impossible situations and now, it needs help.

"Hill Top Promises" is at 2 East Broad Street. The city threatened to condemn the building once before, but the non-profit was able to get the heat fixed. Inspectors are now applying pressure for different reasons.

Carolann Ramsey confessed the good and bad about "Hill Top Promises". The program gets praises for saving lives but the building needs work.

"We have to have two sets of stairways," she said.

Code enforcers found the balcony above the first floor is too low and must come down along with the stairs. It leads to what was Hill Top's computer lab, until the city shut down the second floor last Friday.

"There are all these different departments and they all have different things. They all wanted it yesterday," said Ramsey.

There's an occupancy permit to deliver services from the first floor but not the second. So those searching online for work must go other places like Goodwill.

"That's all the way out Midlothian but I don't have the funds to get out there," said client Johnny Walker.

The city is concerned that the building and its clients are contributing to safety issues that unless corrected will jeopardize the program. In other words, shut it down. The program's supporters are clamoring in her defense.

"The city should possibly consider working with Ms. Ramsey and helping her so that this store can remain open," volunteer Perry Brooks stated.

They cite the 133 people who found jobs last year. The 151,233 items of clothing given out -- free tax services, parenting and mental health classes, anger management, and drug rehab.

"I've learned how to deal with people because I was hot headed but now I'm more settled in my ways," said Bertha Cox.

"Carolann is doing a wonderful job and a wonderful service for the community and the courts recognize her because they send all of their clients here to do community service," Todd Alert added.

The executive director says she's working on a plan and is terrified the city might not accept it.

"This is a very big possibility. My prayer is that we will be here to serve the community," said Ramsey.

A fundraiser is planned for February 22 at Mosaic Café. That's located at 6229 River Road in Richmond. It's from 5 p.m. till 9 p.m. VCU. social work students who intern at Hill Top are also trying to keep the doors open.

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