Dasha Kelly posted on the GoFundMe website earlier this month asking for $2,000 to help keep a roof over the heads of herself and her “3 daughters” In Nevada.
“We owe $1,900 for rent alone not including utilities. I will figure out utilities by pawning a few things. As you all know it is entirely still to [sic] hot to be homeless,” Kelly wrote. “My daughter’s [sic] are aged 5, 6, and 8. Please help with anything you can.”
The GoFundMe, entitled, “Help My Girls & I avoid eviction,” quickly went viral after CNN interviewed Kelly and generated nearly 10 times the amount the 32-year-old was seeking. As of Thursday morning, the GoFundMe page had raised $191,925, as generous donors rushed to help make sure Kelly and the children did not lose their home.
During the interview, Kelly wept with happiness and expressed gratitude to Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, who has been at the forefront of the battle to cancel rent and stop evictions.
But on Monday, Kelly updated the GoFundMe page with a disclaimer: she is not the children’s biological mother.
“The girls recognize me as a mother figure in their lives, but I am not their biological mother. My partner is the children’s father whom I do not live with, and I take care of these girls in my home for periods of time, and have for the last couple years,” Kelly wrote while saying that doesn’t change the nature of the urgency for her need for financial assistance. “I’ve loved these girls unconditionally, and have been out of the kindness of my heart. I treat them as my daughters, and care for them in this way.”
It’s certainly not out of the ordinary for a person who did not biologically have children to not only act as their parent but also be referred to as their mother or father.
However, by that point, GoFundMe had already frozen Kelly’s fundraising campaign.
GoFundMe told the Washington Post it was giving all donors two weeks to cancel their donations and ask for refunds and Kelly posted a link advising people how they can formally request their money back. After that period ends on Aug. 23, Kelly can have whatever money remains.
The Post added that Kelly’s GoFundMe had raised $234,000 by Monday, suggesting about $42,000 had already been refunded as of Thursday.
The CNN reporter who originally interviewed Kelly said the young girls all called her “mom” but that their biological mother was angry at the implication.
“Shadia Hilo,” the girls’ biological mother who showed their birth certificates for confirmation, “is understandably upset that someone else claimed to be the mother of three of her children, children she also cares for,” CNN reported Nick Watt told the Post.
Set to expire on October 3, the new moratorium gives millions of renters a brief reprieve and more time for Congress to address the ongoing housing crisis. It applies to renters living in counties with elevated rates of COVID-19 infections, which is about 90% of the U.S. population.