House of Hope expects to open Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter by August

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Coalition for the Homeless reports a quarter of the state’s homeless population that lives in the Pee Dee.

To help tackle that problem the House of Hope of the Pee Dee announced plans for a new community shelter in Florence.

The shelter will have 36 beds for men, 24 beds for women and five rooms for families.

Jerome Mitchell has lived on South Church Street for most of his life

“I grew up in this area, specifically in Mount Zion Apartments right there behind us here,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell says he knows how it feels when being homeless is the only option left.

“It wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t pleasant at all,” Mitchell added.

That’s because he was homeless for nearly three months and knows others in the area who struggle with it too. He says it’s a bumpy road.

“I’ve experienced it for myself and I got a lot of my friends that are going through the same thing, so it is definitely needed,” mentioned Mitchell.

“We probably suffer a little bit more due to our proximity, the highways with I-95 and I-20 to see some transit as a result of that,” said Mayor of Florence Stephen Wukela.

House of Hope of the Pee Dee has been in operation for over 25 years.They aim to meet the spiritual, physical, and service needs of the area’s homeless as they help transition them to independent living. They are funded by their two Mission Mart resale stores, church support, and gifts from local businesses, individuals, and foundations.

The shelter is in remembrance of Courtney McGinnis Graham:

Courtney McGinnis Graham was never a wallflower. Her professional and personal ambitions were equally driven. In 46 years, she was: a Clemson graduate, a Regional Sales Director, a leader of Bible studies, a volunteer, an entrepreneur, a talk show host, and an adoring daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend. Courtney co-founded SNAC (Shelter and Nourishment for All Children), a non-profit that advocates for the homeless, indigent, and hungry children in FSD1. In a single day, Courtney could be found giving out bread at the Parking lot ministry, filming a segment for her tv show, hanging out with her family and wrapping the day up helping a homeless family get checked into a motel room. She made every second of her day count and is missed by many. What a special person she was.

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