Red Cross officials reverse decision to close Mullins shelter

MULLINS, SC (WBTW) – Fifty one people are still living inside the South Carolina National Guard Armory in Mullins.

Many who are living there were displaced from homes in Nichols and near the Little Pee Dee River.

Though the shelter had planned to shut its doors Thursday afternoon, American Red Cross Executive Director Joe Hayes says that won’t happen until every person need is met at the shelter.

Nichols resident Margaret Tart hasn’t rested much since leaving her home on Pee Dee Island Road nearly four weeks ago.

“I left my house October ninth on a Sunday morning,” said Tart.

Hurricane Matthew destroyed or damaged 236 out of 260 homes in Nichols along with nearly 300 vehicles and more than 20 businesses, according to Nichols Mayor Lawson Battle.

“We woke up with water in our house, around our house,” Tart said.

Tart along with many other people at the shelter say they have waited for help long enough.

“You know, you just don’t want to live in a shelter forever and if you can find a home to live in that will give you some satisfaction,” Tart explained.

American Red Cross Executive Director Joe Hayes says the South Carolina National Guard Armory has allowed the shelter to stay open as long as there is a need.

“We’re not going to leave anyone on the streets. We are not going to kick anyone out. Our goal is to take care of the people and make sure they’re ok,” mentioned Hayes.

And making sure everyone person there has a safe place to stay.

“We do not need to be out by Thursday, we will be here with these families for as long as we need too,” Hayes said.

“We don’t want to be out here forever and God is not going to let us do that but we have to stay here until we find someplace to go,” said Tart.

Twenty-one people have left the shelter in Mullins since Tuesday afternoon.