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Nonprofit in Newport News gets grant to help renovate facilities for homeless people

LINK of Hampton Roads helps those who are homeless, veterans or elderly with food, clothing and a place to stay.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Renee Taylor was once considered homeless and is one of many who received help from LINK of Hampton Roads.

“I never thought that I was homeless, but my case manager Ms. Ruffin said that if my name wasn’t on a lease, I was considered homeless," Taylor said. "I always had a place to stay, but it just wasn’t mine.”

The group helped Taylor with food, finding a job and a place to stay.

“At one time before I got my income, they were paying my rent in utilities,” Taylor said.

Now you’ll find her working at the organization, helping others in the same situation who are experiencing her past struggles.

"That’s a beautiful feeling… because I know what it’s like to have nothing,” Taylor said.

LINK of Hampton Roads is a nonprofit organization providing services to those who are homeless, veterans and elderly by providing them with free food and clothes.

“We have a permanent supportive housing program which is a 66-unit scattered site program where we house formerly-homeless individuals,” said Ann Ruffin, the program director for LINK of Hampton Roads.

Executive Director Lynne Finding said the organization needed major work.

“Horrible flooring in here that you could trip over, and some of us did," Finding explained. "We probably replaced a toilet or two. We had leaks in the ceiling.”

The organization just received a $35,000 grant from Lowe’s to renovate the space and its emergency services center. It’s a project Finding said the organization desperately needed. 

The grant will help to fix those issues along with renovating the organization’s emergency services center and providing them a new washer and dryer, which can be used by those in need.

“A lot of people we’ve been working with for years and years and this is kind of a home away from home for them," Ruffin said. "It makes us feel really, really good that they can come into a place that feels warm, welcoming and much more comfortable than it was before."