Miriam's House History
In 1975, Lynchburg Covenant Fellowship began the Wood Ministry to deliver firewood to indigent people. Quickly it became evident that significant numbers of people in Lynchburg needed jobs. Barbara Holdren came on board to study a jobs program in Washington D.C. and with help from the Enterprise Foundation, New Lands Jobs (NLJ) was born.
One Friday in 1985 the Wood Ministry newsletter was sent out with a footnote about this new jobs program. The following Monday, people were lined up outside the NLJ office. The need was evident. Working with individuals who were seeking employment, New Land Jobs' staff became aware that a large number of their applicants did not have fixed addresses. Surprised by the number of homeless people in Lynchburg, those involved with New Land Jobs created New Land Samaritan Inns (NLSI), a nonprofit established to develop transitional living programs for homeless men and women. NLSI opened The Gateway, a program for homeless men, in the fall of 1992. From the beginning, the Board knew there was a need for a similar program for women. NLJ supporter and NLSI Board member Pat Bass promoted this idea and completed research on existing programs for homeless women and children. In 1993, Bev Cosby received the call he describes as a miracle from Elizabeth Forsyth and Stella Tanner. Mrs. Forsyth was interested in providing financial support to start what would become Miriam's House just one year later. Efforts of other Board Members, such as Malcolm Douglas and Betsy White, secured the original HUD Grant. In the fall of 1993, the first director, Krista Mills was hired and in January 1994, Miriam's House opened its doors to admit its first residents.
Miriam's House is named for Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses, who saved Moses by placing him in the bulrushes where he could be rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter and educated in Pharaoh’s house. The families who are served by Miriam's House are offered the support and opportunity to become strong and independent.