Volunteers clean up Blacksburg emergency shelter for National NeighborsWork Week

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Families in need got some big help Thursday in Blacksburg as volunteers cleaned up an emergency shelter.

The home at Penn Street may look like a typical residence, but It's actually an emergency shelter for families who would otherwise be living on the streets.

The New River Family Shelter owns the building, which was built in the 1700s.

Executive Director Carol Johnson explained, "Families come, they stay, they're able to take a deep breath and know that they don't have to worry about where they're going to stay on a particular night and then address those issues and barriers that have lead to them becoming homeless and that are preventing them from obtaining permanent housing."

Thursday, Community Housing Partners, Home Depot of Christiansburg, and the Community Foundation of the New River Valley did some big renovations to make things better for the family living there and the one moving in on Friday.

Communications Manager at CHP, Melissa Hammond said, "We're doing interior painting, we are doing some repair work on some fencing and some walls, we've cleaned out some appliances that weren't working."

Home Depot ASM Chuck Kamienski added, "Home Depot is actually helping with the landscaping around the house, we're also building a swing set, [and] we're installing a new floor in the sun room."

It was all part of National NeighborsWork Week where volunteers spend time helping those in their community who need it.

Kamienski said, "They're there for us, they pay our bills basically, so we turn around and we give a day here and there where we can go out and do projects out in the community."

Now families can go home to a nicer, cleaner home that's also safer, including new front steps that will allow families to actually use their front door, which they couldn't do before.

"To be able to come into a house that's freshly painted and clean, it's just going to make them feel good from the start," Johnson said. "A lot of them don't know what they're coming into so as we can make the space be, certainly the better."

It's also perfect work for the volunteers who say helping families is what they work to do on a regular basis.

Hammond said, "It's a great thing to do for our community and we believe housing is one of the most important issues that be addressed when a family's in need."