LYNCHBURG, Va. – Kelly Lakes became homeless after her mother passed away 18 months ago.
"I was her primary caregiver and when she passed away, her house was auctioned and I became homeless," Lakes said.
For six months, Lakes has been living in Miriam's House, an organization that fights homelessness.
"It's one of the greatest opportunities that I've experienced since my mother's passing. That we have a cohesive environment. It's like a home, not like a shelter," Lakes said.
Giving those less fortunate a "home" feeling is why the Virginia's Homeless Solutions Grant is helping Miriam's House expand its Community First program by $100,000. This will help an additional 45 families in the Lynchburg community.
"Funds have been used really responsibly. Because of that our application to the state for this funding was approved at the maximum amount allowed because they have a lot of confidence in our track record of ending homelessness," Sarah Quarantotto, executive director of Miriam's House, said.
Miriam's House tracks the number of homeless people in the city. It says there are 800 homeless men, women and children. Of that number, Miriam's House directly serves 210. Two hundred of those people can benefit from the new grant.
"That's 100 children, which is exactly what we want to do is make sure that no child in our community is homeless, "Quarantotto said.
The organization says the money will be used to fund case managers who work with the families from the point of shelter until they're in their new homes. And it gives people financial assistance in their first month's rent and security deposit.
"To see somebody grow and to be able to move out and to be independent. It's almost like being a proud parent, " Lake said.