Richmond groups partner to help low income families rebuild - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Richmond groups partner to help low income families rebuild

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A Richmond group doesn't want public housing to be associated with violence and drugs. So it's started a new initiative to connect low income neighbors with jobs and it has quickly taken off.

It's all about rebuilding lives. Organizers of a project called "Our House" say if you've fallen on hard times, there's help from those who are convinced it takes a village to help each other get back up.

You'd never imagine Leroi Mason's past just by looking at him,

"No parole, no nothing. Straight up 37 years," he recalled.

That was his sentence for a murder he committed when he was in his 30's. He's now 76-years-old.

"I earned a Master's Degree while I was in prison. I utilized that." Mason said.

Just last week, he was out of work. Until he came to a new building near Mosby Court called "Our House." It's a community resource to connect those in the neighborhood with jobs.

"In 30 days, I've had over 250 people come through this door for jobs, so they do want to work. As of this date we have 40 people on jobs working today and by the end of the year we will place about 150 people on jobs," said Arthur Burton with Kinfolks Community, a partner of Our House.

Part of the concept is to get people to be self-sufficient to the point that if they want to move out of public housing, they can. So organizers are working on a 1-million dollar renovation project of abandoned apartments located in the same community.

"Our next goal is to move 84 families out of public housing. This is going to be our first project, a 36 unit apartment building that we intend to break ground on in about 45 days…and also do a construction training program to train folks so we can take them on other jobs after we finish this," Burton added.

He's asked Mason to share his story, to prove it's never too late to start again.

"You want to get out and help young people, you know, but I came out and it was almost like, they helped me because they accepted me. They wanted to hear my story…This is one of those situations where they said 'he will never get out' but I'm blessed. I'm here," Mason said.

Right now, partners at Our House are looking to hire 15-20 people right away for a building renovation project in Richmond. Interviews will be held on Monday from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. at 203 E. Cary Street. No experience is needed. 

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