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Lynch, 58, started at Solid Ground Transitional Housing, in Roseville, Michigan, in 2003, sweeping floors in the building that in those days only had one large room for assisting the homeless. She and the other volunteers had big dreams for creating a shelter in the space, and as the site evolved, so did Lynch's role. She worked her way up to board member and became president in 2005. With the help of grants, union volunteers renovated the building to create homey settings that have kitchens and washers and dryers. The shelter finally opened this spring at a time of greater need than ever before due to the troubled auto industry.
Solid Ground can house 14 families for 18 to 24 months and teaches residents job skills and money management. Then staff members help the families transition back into society. The organization has already helped more than 2,500 with housing assistance, bus tickets, food, and clothing.
"I wish there was no such thing as homelessness. Unfortunately, we can't save them all, but we can at least put a dent in it," says Lynch. "That's why I pray every day, Lord, just let me get out of bed and be able to move these joints so that I can do what I love to do."
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, May 2009.