LYNCHBURG, Va. – “This is like a dream for me come true,” Milford Smith said.
It’s a dream come true for Smith as he walks through his new home.
He spent 20 years of his life sleeping on the streets of Lynchburg. Most of that time was spent under the John Lynch Bridge.
“I had tents set up. (I'd) say, 'You want to be somewhere laid down and you out on the streets? Come on.' I didn’t charge anybody nothing,” Milford said.
Miriam’s House, a non-profit organization that helps homeless people in the Lynchburg-area, found Milford.
“Our outreach worker went under the bridge, engaged with him and he was very eager to engage with services and start working on a housing plan,”said director of housing services for Miriam’s House Kristen Nolen.
In 2018, Milford was one of the first people to sign up under Miriam’s House’s new street outreach program.
A whole year went by when he almost called it quits.
“I kind of gave up for a minute, but God said hold on,” Milford said.
Milford held on long enough for Miriam’s House to get a phone call from Jeff Smith with Rush Homes.
The organization sets aside units for disabled and homeless people on their property.
“We had a sudden vacancy in this particular apartment. We were able to turn this particular apartment very quickly,” said Smith.
Milford is now enjoying his new bedroom, bathroom, washer and dryer. All things he didn’t have before.
“This is another chance for me to start my life over and I’m not having anybody running in and out of here. This is my world right now and I love it,” Milford said.
Miriam’s House has helped 79 homeless people and 64-percent of them have found permanent homes since launching the program in 2018.
Miriam’s House serves counties surrounding the Lynchburg area.
If you know of anyone that’s homeless and needs help call the Coordinates Homeless Intake Access at 434-455-5722.