Dorchester community organization working to fund new homeless shelters

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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – The Home of Hope for Men and the Hopes House for Women in Summerville is seeking assistance to better serve the community. Directors say renovations are needed to better serve those coming in and out of homeless shelters.

“We are looking to build these facilities specifically to design to make the functions of the shelters for those in a housing crisis,” says Marty Thomas, Executive Director of Dorchester Community Outreach.

Thomas says they are only able to host 24 people between both shelters, but applications keep piling up.

“There some warming centers in the Lowcountry, but there’s nothing close to this area and there’s nothing in Dorchester County,” he says.

The men’s shelter has been running since 2015, and the women’s since 2019. Since then, Thomas says over 6,000 referrals have came through and hundreds of people in and out of the shelters.

“COVID-19 really did cause us to have to scale back and of course return a lot of people away during that time,” Thomas says.

DCCO is concerned about keeping their doors open due to the men’s shelter’s rent increasing 25% in the next 2 years. Thomas says he has been meeting with Dorchester County officials to help build 3 new shelters, including the county’s first warming shelter.

“We want to do modifications and improvements to our building to better serve our guests, but our lease restrictions don’t allow us to do that,” Thomas says.

He says these improvements are needed to keep up with the growing community.

“We are hoping maybe the county will join in and help us make it a reality,” Thomas says.

DDCO says they are asking for $4.6 million dollars from the county through COVID-19 relief funds to complete this project by 2022.

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