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UVA's Lighting of the Lawn Raises Money for Hope House - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA's Lighting of the Lawn Raises Money for Hope House

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The University of Virginia shared the light of the season with Charlottesville families who are fighting homelessness and trying to get back on their feet.

This year, UVA's Lighting of the Lawn tradition raised money for Hope House.

"During this high-stress time of finals and getting ready for the holidays, it's important to remember that there are families out there who do not have housing," said Jenna Dagenhart, with Lighting of the Lawn.

Nancy Kidd, director of Hope House, explained how a mother and two little girls who currently live in a Hope House apartment came there as victims of abuse, and had previously been paying to live on someone's porch.

The program offered them rent-free, utility-free housing and the resources to start working toward self-sufficiency.

"She has been able to gain access to budget counseling, parenting classes, counseling for herself and her children and just be able to have a safe, a comfortable and a positive environment where she could concentrate on the things that she needed to change," Kidd said.

After a year in the Hope House program, the family is packing up to move out next weekend. When they leave, the Lighting of the Lawn donation will help the Hope House refurbish the apartment. Such private donations are a huge help.

Hope House is trying to become independent from federal funding, which recently brought on restrictions that undermine their mission.

"We are not able to require people to do budgeting classes, parenting classes, and to participate in things that we know help families to move toward self-sufficiency," Kidd said.

Hope House would need $72,000 in private funding to become independent of the restrictions.

"Just to see families regain hope is just the greatest thing ever," Kidd said.

Donations were collected throughout the Lighting of the Lawn.

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