Dasha Kelly, the Las Vegas woman who recently received over $200,000 in donations to avoid eviction, has clarified she’s not the mother of the three girls who appeared alongside her in the CNN feature. Kelly had initially told the news outlet she was the mother of the girls.
The 32-year-old and the minors were showered with unwavering financial support on GoFundMe after CNN featured them in a segment looking at the expiration of the federal eviction moratorium that has since been extended, HowAfrica reported last week. Kelly, who had been hard up on cash, set up the GoFundMe with a $2,000 goal to pay her rent prior to the feature.
But after Kelly and the girls, who are aged 8, 6 and 5, gained spotlight following the segment, the 32-year-old later “clarified to CNN that she is not the mother of the three children featured in the story,” the news outlet announced in an update.
Kelly also explained she initially “described herself to CNN as a mother because she considers herself to be like one to them.” The news outlet added that Kelly’s boyfriend is actually the father of the girls and they’re “also cared for by their mother, Shadia Hilo.”
“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 GoFundMe says no funds have been withdrawn.”
In a separate statement, GoFundMe also said their Trust & Safety Team has had a conversation with Kelly and “required that an update be publicly posted on the fundraiser to provide more information to donors,” Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“In addition, GoFundMe has proactively notified all donors with directions on how to request a full refund. After (Aug. 23), GoFundMe will release the funds, minus any refunds,” the statement added.
Prior to making the clarification, Kelly said she was going to use a portion of the proceeds to settle the outstanding rent balance and also pay off the entire lease. She said she’ll also open a savings account for the three girls “so that it can build until their [sic] 18”, adding that she’ll create a $50,000 family rainy day fund. And besides that, Kelly said they’ll also be paying it forward to families who may be caught up in their situation and also donating to charity.
Despite the recent clarification, Kelly posted an update on GoFundMe on Monday, saying the reason behind starting the crowdfunding hasn’t changed and she will still be using the donated funds “to get back on my feet and support my family.” She also reiterated she’ll be “putting money aside for the girls in a savings account.”
“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,” Kelly said.
She also told donors who wanted a refund to contact GoFundMe by August 23.