Update: After CNN aired a story about her potential eviction, Dasha Kelly clarified to CNN that she is not the mother of the three children featured in the story. CNN has verified she takes care of the children in her home for periods of time. She says she originally described herself to CNN as a mother because she considers herself to be like one to them.
CNN has learned the children are also cared for by their mother, Shadia Hilo, and their father, David Allison, who is Kelly’s boyfriend.
GoFundMe tells CNN they are in close contact with Kelly and funds will stay on hold until they verify her information. GoFundMe says no funds have been withdrawn.
Last Monday, Dasha Kelly was facing eviction and didn’t know how she was going to pay her back rent. A day later, thanks to strangers, more than $170,000 has been raised so far.
On Tuesday, Kelly sat on her couch, one of the last pieces of furniture left in her apartment in Las Vegas, and was told how much money was raised. She was left speechless as CNN’s Erin Burnett told her the amount.
“I just want to tell everybody thank you so much,” Kelly said as tears ran down her face. “I’m still in denial.”
Kelly was joined by her boyfriend’s three daughters, Sharron, 8; Kia, 6; and Imani, 5, who she says she cares for part-time. The family was featured in a CNN story that aired on Monday about the federal eviction moratorium that ended this past weekend.
Last year, the 32-year-old said she lost her job as a card dealer when the pandemic forced casinos to shut down. She is one of the more than 11 million Americans that are behind on their rent, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“I had no idea what we were going to do,” Kelly said about facing eviction.
She started a GoFundMe last Monday night in hopes of raising $2,000 to cover the back rent she owed. Just 24 hours later, the campaign has raised more than $172,000 from more than 2,700 donors.
As of Sunday night, it had raised more than $200,000.
“It gave me a lot of hope,” she said. “And I just want to make sure I do the best that I can to help the next person that is in my same situation.”
GoFundMe tells CNN they are in close contact with Kelly and funds will stay on hold until they verify her information. GoFundMe says no funds have been withdrawn
Both Shadia Hilo, the girl’s mother, and Kelly tell CNN the girls will be returning to Hilo’s home for the start of the school year while Kelly determines her next step.
CNN’s Kimberly Berryman, Nick Watt, and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.