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Love Columbia receives $1 million grant for transitional housing project

Love Columbia, a local nonprofit organization, announced Tuesday that it received a $1 million grant from American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) through the Boone County Commission.

The grant will fund the construction of a six-plex apartment building under the umbrella of its Extra Mile Homes program, the nonprofit said in a news release.

Gary Ward, the executive director of operations for Love Columbia, will lead the construction project.

"Receiving this grant marks a significant step in our commitment to serving the Columbia community," Ward said.

Extra Mile Homes provides transitional housing for families with children experiencing homelessness over a period of four to six months. Participants will receive financial and life skills coaching to retire debt, save and prepare for permanent housing.

"This is a program where a family that has become homeless can really enter into a safe haven where they can reset their life," Love Columbia co-founder Jane Williams said.

Over 50 families have successfully transitioned to permanent housing through their Extra Mile Homes program, according to the news release.

Deann Reynolds and her family are one those successful transitions.

“I reached out last September," Reynolds said. "I was having some hard times with my rent. I had just found out I was pregnant, so things were just starting to slip through the cracks.”

Reynolds says the Extra Mile Homes program allowed for her family to regroup and be together under one roof.

"It gave us somewhere for our safety and our peace of mind because before that wasn’t really a thing we got to experience,” Reynolds said.

The new six-plex, located in close proximity to the Love Columbia Center at the northwest corner of Ash and College, will allow families to easily access services. Williams believes this will help those in the program to have more stability.

"We can really create a campus here," Williams said. "We feel that it would be the ideal setting for people to transition from homelessness to stability.”

Williams says she is grateful the Boone County Commission selected Love Columbia to receive the funding.

"They recognized not only the work we have been doing and the success we have had," Williams said.

Reynolds says she is excited for more families to be able to receive help like she did.

"I hope that they benefit as much as I did," Reynolds said. "Because I know my family is thriving from the help that Love Columbia and transitional housing gave us.”

Further details about the project, including the timeline for completion, will be shared in the near future. For more information about the nonprofit or how to get involved with its Extra Mile Homes program, visit its website.

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