Lynchburg Homeless Shelters Provide Look Into Life Without a Home

Lynchburg, VA - Being homeless may not be something that crosses your mind very often, but a Lynchburg organization is hoping to change that.

The organization wants people to get an up close look, so they're inviting people to come see the homeless shelters in action this week.

It's National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week and it's the first time the shelters have opened up to the public like this.

The thought is, if people can see what's really going on, they may get more involved in the fight against homelessness.

"When they see these shelters and they see the needs that these shelters have, they'll want to get involved on some level," said Rick Hughes, Director of WarmStreets Art Gallery.

Hughes is also part of the Central Virginia Continuum of Care, the organization behind this week's shelter walk-through's.

"I want people to see what's going on, and then usually when people see it they say, 'you know, I'm an interior decorator, I could help make this place look a little better.' Or, 'you know, I like to fix things and those stairs look pretty bad at this shelter.'"

Lynchburg's point in time count from January showed that at least 150 people are without homes. Lynchburg City Schools says they serve more than 100 students who are considered homeless.

"You've got husbands and wives, you've got children. Families may be fragmented, who's going to stay with who and all that," said Tony Evelyn, who used to be homeless.

Evelyn is just getting back on his feet after staying at the Hand Up Lodge off and on for the past four years. He says homelessness is a problem in the Hill City, and folks like him, need your help.

"Homelessness can happen like that. And, you've just got to be prepared for that, and thank God for what we're doing today and people can see what they can do about it," Hughes said. "You don't have to just look at the television and say, 'oh that's too bad,' and do nothing. There are different ways to get involved."

Here are the tours for the rest of this week:

Tuesday, November 19- Miriam's House 1-4 p.m.

Wednesday, November 20- Daily Bread 12:30-2 p.m.

Thursday, November 21- Salvation Army 4-6 p.m.

Friday, November 22- Gateway 1-4 p.m.