CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Five Charlottesville-area nonprofits are teaming up to make it easier for families and patients receiving care at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital to find a place to stay.

UVA Children's Hospital has worked with the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) for years to provide low-cost housing for pediatric patients and their families.

With only 19 rooms and high demand, four other organizations - LilyPads Housing, Open Arms, Yellow Door Foundation, and the Alyssa House - will also help out now.

Now, the hospital can refer families to an RMH coordinator who works to ensure families find a cheaper housing solution that best suits their needs.

"We are not offering these options independently. These options are available because of the community and being able to work together to meet the family's needs is really, I think, what's beautiful about this collaborative," said Karin Skeen, associate chief for UVA Children's Hospital.

Skeen says it took six months to finalize the collaboration, but families have already told her how happy they are with it.

The UVA Children’s Hospital is also working with a few other nonprofits to bring in meals for families and to enhance the atmosphere of the hospital with new art and sculptures.

03/29/2018 Release from the University of Virginia Health System:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., March 29, 2018 – Five Charlottesville nonprofits are teaming up to make it easier for families and patients receiving care at University of Virginia Children’s Hospital to find a place to stay.

Karin Skeen, UVA’s associate chief of women’s and children’s services, saw there wasn’t a streamlined process for UVA Children’s Hospital families to find housing that best met their needs for their stays in Charlottesville. So she worked with the nonprofits to create the UVA Children’s Hospital Housing Collaborative.

“Many of our Children’s Hospital families travel for hours to reach Charlottesville, and their children may need care for several weeks or even longer,” Skeen said. “We are so appreciative that these groups have come together to ensure our families don’t have to worry about having a place to stay while their child receives care.”

The five nonprofits that have joined the collaborative to provide affordable housing for UVA Children’s Hospital families are:

Among those benefiting from the housing collaborative has been Woody Jones of New Kent County, Va., whose 16-year-old son Juan received a heart transplant at UVA in January and has remained in Charlottesville during his initial recovery. The Jones family has spent about a month in an Open Arms apartment, which Woody Jones said has helped ease the post-recovery process.

“It took a lot of the stress off. It’s more relaxing and more cozy [to have an apartment],” he said. “To be able to take a shower, to feel comfortable – it’s like you’re at home.”

Requesting a Place to Stay
Families visiting UVA Children’s Hospital looking for a place to stay can connect with the housing collaborative by contacting Ronald McDonald House’s Rita Ralston at 434.295.1885. Ralston and Ronald McDonald House then work together with the four other members of the housing collaborative to identify the best place for the family to stay based on the family’s needs and the housing available.