Florence homeless shelter gets $350k from anonymous donor, but still seeks donations

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – There are more than 100 unsheltered men, women and children in the Pee Dee area, according to the 2015 Point-In-Time count of homeless people.

So this year, non-profit groups in Florence plan to change that with a new shelter for those who don’t have a place to stay.

The House of Hope of the Pee Dee and another non-profit organization plan to start the new year with renovations to an abandoned building on Railroad Avenue in Downtown Florence.

Executive Director of House of Hope of the Pee Dee Bryan Braddock discussed building an emergency shelter with Courtney Graham. Graham was the founder of SNAC (Shelter and Nutrition for all children) which assisted homeless families of Florence District One students. Graham passed away in June last year. So, the new shelter will be named and built in her honor.

Braddock says $350,000 from an anonymous donor will be used to renovate the seven-thousand square foot property for homeless men, women and children.

Property owners nearby where renovations will take place say the shelter will help assist those less fortunate.

“We do have a very profound need for housing for the homeless,” said property owner Douglas Phillips.

Douglas Phillips owns Pine Street Studios. The apartments are down the street from where renovations on the shelter will take place.

“Being in the area, we do have quite a bit of experience with folks who are in need of housing and are sometimes unable to pay,” Phillips said.

Braddock says the expected cost for renovations is around $850,000. He says they’ve already received, or got verbal commitments, for half that amount. However, the remaining funds will have to be raised by donations.

The emergency shelter will include space for 80 people, 26 beds for women, 30 for men and space for five families. The shelter will provide overnight housing, showers and meals. It will be set up to serve anyone without a place to sleep safely, including those living abandoned buildings, under bridges and in the woods.

Hours of operation will be 5 p.m. until 7 a.m. with evening meals and breakfast.

The House of Hope of the Pee Dee is accepting donations to help towards renovations of the new shelter.

The goal is to have the shelter up and running by the end of May.

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