NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – For Sonta Walton, having a roof over her head was life changing.
“I just was tired of sleeping on the floor and just tired of being unstable because when you have kids, you should be stable,” Walton said.
Walton now has a house of her own, thanks to Hand Up Housing of Arkansas. Donald Williams and his wife started the nonprofit organization ten years ago.
“It came out of a need of homeless people needing a place to go and so we offer classes,” Williams said. “We call it holistic, so it’s faith based. We say we accept people like God does until God can get them where they need to be.”
Hand up currently has three fully furnished houses in North Little Rock. Walton’s three sisters live in a Hand Up Housing house next door. Clients must pay a small fee to live in a house. The goal is for them to complete the program within a year and move out into their own place, which is what Bernadette Reynolds did in 2014.
“It was such a struggle being homeless and not having people to encourage you or back you up or lift you up to support you as you’re trying to go forward,” Reynolds said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today. I might have been dead if it hadn’t been for Hand Up Housing.”
The life changing work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Rainwater, Holt and Sexton awarded Hand Up Housing with the Difference Maker’s award and a $1,000 donation.
“I’m happy that people are giving Hand Up Housing some light,” Walton said. “I’m ready to move on, so this can be a place for somebody else and they can receive the blessings of it.”
“When I first heard the news it was very humbling that we were chosen to receive it and it does help us to help take care of those that aren’t able to work yet,” Williams said.
Hand Up Housing said the money will help with remodeling homes. The nonprofit has helped shelter 135 homeless people in the past 10 years.