Community helps non-profit clean up former motel to aid homeless

Updated: Nov. 4, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - WDBJ7 was the first to report about The Least of These Ministry leasing a former motel to create a new housing model for those unsheltered in Roanoke.

Saturday, they held their first of many clean-up days to get it ready for people to rent.

It was all hands on deck throughout the day with more than 100 people showing up to help the Least of These Mnistriy clean up and transform the former Apple Valley motel.

“So, this will be a motel that will prayerfully offer people that are experiencing homelessness an opportunity to secure shelter, because the rates will be something that they can afford if they’re on a fixed income,” explained TLOT Executive Director Dawn Sullivan.

In just two months, the former Apple Valley Motel will be transformed into Suites by TLOT to serve the homeless population in Roanoke. The 19 rooms will be re-done and fully furnished with a capacity to host up to 30 people. The goal is to begin leasing suites by January.

“(Help) humanize...(people) feel more human... If you have a place to, you know, to lay down at night, take a shower, fix it, use the microwave, any of that, stay warm when it’s 40 degrees outside or 30 or whatever it’s getting down to now,” said Charles St. Clair.

St. Clair donated a dumpster rental to the non-profit to help pick up trash. He wanted to help them in their mission to help others. He says he has been clean for years after suffering from a substance abuse disorder following an injury. Seeing all those people volunteering to help others encouraged him.

“It’s the Lord’s work. I’m giving back,” said Roark. “It’s me paying forward, me being there and to he ladies who have been there for me and helped me through my struggle.”is is just God showing up out here,” added St. Clair.

People across the spectrum of age showed up. Those young and young at heart rolled up their sleeves and got to work. One of those was Dawn Roark. Roark was homeless for 5 years before acquiring an apartment last week. Through experiencing homelessness, TLOT was there to support her. She says this is the reason she showed up to volunteer.

“It’s the Lord’s work. I’m giving back,” said Roark. “It’s me paying forward me being there and to the ladies who have been there for me and helped me through my struggle.”

There will be more volunteer opportunities and community events, scheduled in November and December. Follow The Least of These Ministry for more information.