JMU Students Help Homeless

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

Some James Madison University students say they want to help improve the lives of the homeless.

"Homelessness is a 'needs a community' solution. It needs a community effort. And this is just a great example of how many different circles are coming together to help with that," said Ken Logsden, Jr., Chairman for Buildings and Grounds at Mercy House.

Members of JMU's students in free enterprise were looking for a project to work on this year and wanted to help the homeless.

"We found out about this grant that Lowes was offering for $2000 that would be used for community improvement. So we wrote this proposal about what we were going to do, and we applied for this grant, and we got it," said Allison Von Hausen, president of Students in Free Enterprise.

They were impressed when they won one of fifty grants the do it yourself store was giving away across the nation

"A lot of big corporations will do it on a really wide scale, like they'll donate to a charity or something like that. But it's nice to know they didn't forget about the little things, like a local area homeless shelter," said Von Hausen.

The students chose to spruce up the living conditions at three Mercy House locations in Harrisonburg.

They felt that putting the money towards the Mercy House would help them better understand the area's problem with the homeless.

"It's definitely a rough place to be and i think that us as JMU students, we're very privileged in that respect, because none of us have probably ever really experienced this kind of thing," said Von Hausen.

Even though the students didn't have many opportunities to interact with the residents at the houses they worked on, Mercy House assures them that their efforts are having an impact.

"There's just a sense of appreciation and a sense of an understanding of how these efforts are helping them move on and spiral out," said Logsden.


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