PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Just before the coronavirus pandemic was declared, U.S. officials estimated — for the fourth consecutive year — the homeless population in America grew by an estimated 2% to 580,000.
As the pandemic is now in its 19th month in the U.S., the full extent of the world health crisis on the homeless population is still unknown.
From her brick ranch in Virginia Beach, Regina Darden, who was once homeless, is thankful for a beautiful home and her ability to just take a breath. In April, Darden nearly died following a severe case of COVID-19.
“I thank you God. You let me live and I am going to live the rest of my life for you and I am here today,'” she said.
The founder of The HOPE Foundation Shelter for the Homeless is still in therapy because of COVID long hauler symptoms but she now works from home as her army of volunteers has fed the homeless during the pandemic.
“I asked God who is going to take care of the guests now? He said I created it [the Foundation] and it will go on,” she said.
And the show goes on. The HOPE Foundation’s second World Homeless Day telethon will begin Sunday at noon. Once again, 10 On Your Side’s Regina Mobley will co-host the event, this time from the Murray Center just outside downtown Norfolk.
“So we are doing this telethon on World Homeless Day  to bring awareness to the Hampton Roads Community to help irradicate the homelessness. We are trying to secure a building; we need a building to help them with their resources and a safe place to live,” said Darden.
Most shelters close for the summer, but that’s when Darden’s shelter opens to protect her guests from the dangers of the streets and the dangers of the elements.
“We are just trying to raise money and bring awareness to the community to help and make a difference,” said Darden.
On the Hampton Roads Show Friday morning, Nexstar Media Charitable Foundation and WAVY-TV/WVBT FOX43 presented a $5,000 grant to The HOPE Foundation. Vice President and General Manager Carol Ward was on the set for the jumbo check presentation.
“We are honored to partner with the HOPE Foundation Inc. to support World Homeless Day and make this contribution to help the homeless in our community get the help and resources needed to become a gainful and an inherent part of our community. Our hope is that this donation will draw more attention to the needs of the local homeless population here in Virginia. Giving back to the communities served by Nexstar across the country is core to the company’s mission, and we are proud to make this donation on behalf of WAVY-TV/WVBT FOX43, Nexstar Media Group, and all the company’s 13,000 employees,” said Ward in a news release.
Holding back tears, Darden thanked Ward for the contribution.
“To God be the Glory, to God be the glory. It’s just a blessing that we can bring awareness to the homeless population.
For information on the telethon contact HOPE Foundation at (757) 241-6900. You can also scan the QR code in the graphic below.