Mom’s struggle inspired her to help others: ‘Six figures to food stamps’

RICHMOND, Va. -- A spotlight has been shining on eviction rates in Richmond, Virginia. The city is ranked among the top 10 cities in the nation in terms of high eviction rates. The numbers disturb Marcy Williams.

"It causes me to wonder what is really happening," Williams, a VCU professor and founder of the non profit KAKY - Kollege and Kareer for Youth - said. "What’s the root cause to the eviction numbers being so high?”

Williams started a new project -- Community of Hope  -- that focuses on housing retention and tenant support.

Her passion to help tenants is fueled by her own deeply personal story of struggles brought on by losing a job years ago. A situation that left her and her two children homeless.

“Went from a six figure income to food stamps. I was laid off. And because I was laid off, I didn’t pay my mortgage," she recalled. "So I was in a vicious cycle. And all the while, no income was coming in. The unemployment that I got was not enough. I lost everything. All happened within 90 days. I plummeted."

In those difficult days, Williams said it was extremely tough to navigate her way to resources that provided immediate help.

That’s now a mission of Community of Hope.

Williams’ program is partnering with property management companies, local agencies, and resources that she can take directly to tenants who may be struggling in Richmond, Chesterfield and Henrico.

The goal, Williams said, was to meet families where they are and being a bridge to connect them with help they need before they become an eviction statistic.

She said faith pulled her through and that life test was now a testimony she shared with others to inspire them and give them hope that they too, can endure.

Community of Hope will host a series of workshops and hands-on resource events next month in area apartment complexes.

Meanwhile Williams’ nonprofit KAKY continues to collect toiletries, non-perishable food items and clothing to donate to families in need.

If you would like to help, you can contact Williams.

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