Despite past community opposition, a new women’s shelter is set to open in Summerville next week.
Hope’s House, located at 700 Central Avenue, will provide a temporary safe place for eight women to sleep and eat. Guests must be working full time or trying to find a job in order to stay at the shelter.
The town has been without a women’s shelter for almost 4 years after the closure of a One80 Place, a Charleston-based organization that assists the homeless, woman and children location on Elks Lodge Lane back in 2015.
The board president for Dorchester County Community Outreach (DCCO), the nonprofit group that owns Hope’s House, Marty Thomas said that he is glad that the town now has a place to serve women in need.
“It makes me proud to say that I live in the Town of Summerville that cares about people who are falling on hard times,” said Thomas. “Of course those ladies who would be living in a car or would be hanging out on a street corner or living in the woods – they’re not going to be there. Now, yes, there’s probably far more than we can ever handle but we are making a difference for eight.”
DCCO has been operating a men’s shelter called Home of Hope since October 2015, and has assisted over 250 men at the shelter.
The shelter faced community opposition last year when town council had to vote on a zoning change so the shelter could open. Council members voted to make the change from neighborhood business use to mixed residential use, approved by a vote of 4-3. The property was previously the location of a catering business.
Mayor Wiley Johnson voted against the rezoning but on Monday, he told News 2 that he still glad the shelter is opening.
“I was hopeful that we could come up with a better solution, a little bit of a larger building, and we’ll still work on that, but I am happy that they are opening it up,” said Mayor Johnson.
Thomas said that some of the opposition has some softened since the vote. He said that some neighbors that opposed the rezoning of the property come visit the shelter recently, and donate goods.
“I opened the door and she was holding a donation of ladies toiletries,” said Thomas.
The shelter is set to open on Monday, June 10.
Staff members said that they will begin operating by housing two to three women during the first month of operation then will welcome more in the coming months.
To learn more about DCCO, visit dcco4homeless.org.