Hotel Kids is helping homeless children and families across Hampton Roads

Posted at 2:37 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 18:22:06-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Hotel Kids is a non-profit organization that has been helping homeless children and families across Hampton Roads for 10 years.

They opened a storefront in downtown to house their donations and supplies on May 5.

News 3's Aleah Hordges spoke with Leslie Godwin, who said she and her three children are living inside their car.

"You feel like you've failed your kids because they don't have an actual roof over their heads," Godwin said.

Godwin said she called Hotel Kids for immediate assistance.

"They're used to having beds and so they're always like, 'We need to go and find a bed or something to lay down on,' so it's really hard," the mother added.

Hotel Kids uses grant money and donations to put families in hotels until space becomes available at local shelters.

The founders, Jammie Abbott and her daughter Amira, said they've helped hundreds of families over the last 10 years.

"By the time they get to us it's not, 'I'm going to be outside in a week' -  it's, 'I'm outside now; my kids haven't eaten in days,'" added Jammie.

However, their mission can be challenging.

"The three cities - Hampton, Newport News and Norfolk - have an ordinance that limits the length of stay, so the families end up having to hop hotel to hotel every 28 days or so. That makes it even more difficult," Jammie continued.

Inside their new storefront is food, hygiene products and toys to bring back a smile on kids' faces.

It's all free to homeless families, but the work is never done.

The growth of homelessness continues to spread, and Hotel Kids said sadly it keeps them busy.

"All of us are volunteers, so it really depends on what funding that can come in before we can give it out," Jammie said.

Click here to learn how you can help.