Local entrepreneur Lisa Tumlin is opening a transitional home for HIV-positive women, and she's looking for a last few donations before women start moving in next week.
"I'm trying to supply everything and I'm paying the rent," she said.
Although she has gotten a lot of what she needs, such as linens and beds, she's still in need of a kitchen table, computer and washer/dryer—which can be used, she said. She's also hoping for supplemental food/pantry items and household goods, such as laundry and dishwashing detergents.
So far, she's funded her nonprofit through donations. She had a small fundraiser and hopes to have another one in the spring.
After going through a LAUNCH business academy, she started a nonprofit called The Springs to support her mission to help the women get jobs, education or other training and have a safe place to stay. Monetary donations can be made via The Springs website.
The women may be facing an array of situations, but Tumlin, who works at Chattanooga CARES—which provides HIV/AIDS resources—said that roommates often want them to leave after they reveal their diagnosis.
"I work at an HIV facility, and I see people coming in and out and just bouncing from place to place and couch surfing," she said. "They are just needing a safe place to sit down and regroup, [a place where] they don't have to hide their medicine ... where they can be comfortable in your living space. [There's] still a big stigma in the world."
The Springs home will allow women to stay as long as 21 months for free, but there are conditions. The women have to sign a contract and agree to be drug- and alcohol-free or in a rehab program. They also must leave the home during the day to work or look for work.
In addition to providing a safe place to stay, Tumlin will also help with other assistance, such as connections with caseworkers.
"I just want to give people safe shelter in order for them to get mentally and physically well so they can be productive in our area," she said.