When Disaster Strikes, Miriam’s House Helps Lynchburg Families Find Their Feet.

by | Feb 2024

WHEN DISASTER strikes, causing families to experience homelessness, Miriam’s House is there to help them get back on their feet. The nonprofit was founded in 1994 to provide housing for women and families without homes. Since then, the program has grown exponentially, expanding to serve homeless youth and chronically homeless individuals in the Lynchburg community. 

Housing Case Manager Alison Hardy said Miriam’s House served 66 people in their first year. In 2022, they served 462; in 2023, that number rose to 538.

As the name suggests, Miriam’s House focuses on housing, collaborating with the community to provide other essentials. Other organizations in Lynchburg provide food resources, career help, clothing, education, and mental health services.

“We definitely don’t do what we do in a silo. We focus on housing. We always say we want to do housing really well, and we want other organizations to do their jobs really well. So we work closely with a bunch of different nonprofits who can help,” Hardy explained.

Part of Hardy’s job as a case manager is to connect people with resources that can help them sustain their housing and rebuild their lives.

“I get to see how well we work together alongside the community. It really is an honor and a privilege, I think, and I’m grateful for the community support.”

While everyone deserves a safe place to sleep at night, Hardy said the concept of ‘home’ is bigger than that.

“The idea of home is so deeply personal and special, and I think so many of our folks have lost that. Over half of our families are fleeing domestic violence, so maybe they left a bad idea of home, and to [help] people create home again, whether that’s a good idea of home or [to] start fresh, getting to play just a small part of that is such an honor,” she shared.

The results speak for themselves. After one year, 98% of individuals assisted are no longer without a home. Hardy said the reason for the success is that homelessness is because of a lack of relationships as well as a lack of financial resources.

“A big part of my job is helping people make connections they didn’t have before. If they fall into trouble again, they know who to call or who in the community can help them before they end up homeless again.” 

Housing is offered without conditions, and each client is connected with other resources needed to sustain housing and rebuild their life. 

“Most of our folks never return to homelessness! They really just take on their lives.” 

Miriam’s House aims to serve 100% of families without homes in Lynchburg. According to the organization’s 2023-2025 strategic plan, this can be done by connecting families with stable, affordable housing and providing the skills and support that lead to self-sufficiency. 

“We want to end family homelessness, which doesn’t mean that people will never be homeless — that would be a great goal, but we’re not quite there yet. Our hope is that we would serve every family that becomes homeless, to quickly get them into housing and make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring,” said Hardy. 

Miriam’s House has been steadily increasing the number of people it can serve. Since 2012, their capacity has increased by 612%. The team is working hard to empower the community and end homelessness. 

Hardy said Miriam’s House and the Lynchburg community share the goal of ending homelessness. 

“Everybody has a part in it somehow. Be involved in helping our community’s most vulnerable.” GN 

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