The University of Mary Washington community has raised more than $3,500 to help provide permanent housing for local homeless families. UMW’s efforts, spearheaded by Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Leslie Martin, are part of a statewide initiative to get 740 Virginia families housed in 100 days.
UMW’s donations go through the “Home for the Holidays” campaign of the Central Virginia Housing Coalition, the Fredericksburg region’s answer to the state initiative. It aims to place 35 area families in permanent housing, just in time for the holiday season.
For each $3,500 raised, CVHC covers a first month’s rent, a security deposit and utilities deposits for one area family. The agencies working with the homeless, including the Thurman Brisben Center and Hope House, will then provide services aimed at keeping the families in the homes long-term.
“I am constantly struck by how giving and concerned all of the members of our UMW community are,” said Martin, who researches the rhetoric of homeless service providers and serves on affordable housing and homelessness task forces.
When senior sociology major Kimmy Slater heard about the initiative, it reminded her of the residents at the Thurman Brisben Center, where she has been a volunteer for the past two years. With the help of fellow students, Slater decided to ask students to donate to the campaign.
“Homelessness has always been near and dear to my heart ever since [I took Professor Martin’s] freshman seminar on homelessness and housing,” Slater said.
Students have raised more than $300 through solicitations in residence halls and at the annual Thanksgiving dinner in Seacobeck Hall. Slater hopes the students can contribute at least $500 by the end of the semester.
To make an online donation, visit http://www.centralvahousing.org/. UMW students, faculty and staff can drop off checks, made payable to Central Virginia Housing Coalition, or cash to Leslie Martin’s office in Monroe Hall.