Spartanburg city leaders and local organizations addressing need for shelter space

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:32 PM EST
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - As we continue to settle into the cold season— having a roof over your head becomes even more critical. Across the upstate the number of people experiencing homelessness continues to grow and local governments are trying to meet the needs.

Three weeks ago, Spartanburg city leaders closed the Opportunity Center’s overnight shelter. About 85 people had to find a new place to sleep. Since then, many of them have migrated to Miracle Hill’s emergency cold shelter, but the county needs more than short-term solutions.

When the temperature drops, there’s one place offering a warm bed. Miracle Hill Rescue Mission is the primary shelter for all of Spartanburg County. The cold weather shelter caters to whoever is in need.

“They have capacity for everyone who was at the opportunity center. We’ve made sure of that” said Christopher George, the Communications Manager of the City of Spartanburg.

When that’s not enough, George says the city has worked with the United Way to house people in motels. But those are only temporary solutions.

“There’s particularly a need for transitional housing and those are long-term strategies we’re looking towards,” he said.

It’s an issue First Baptist Church of Spartanburg is addressing already.

“The most shelter beds in Spartanburg were for men, the 2nd most shelter beds and opportunities were for families and so we realized there was a gap in what our city was doing”  said Steve Wise, the Minister of Missions at First Baptist Church of Spartanburg.

They’re building Bridgeway village–a neighborhood of 18 tiny homes, helping single women transition off the streets

“We’re going to hook up the ladies with a job, we’ll hook them up so they can volunteer at the bridge and throughout our community, we’ll have counseling available to them, we’ll have financial classes available to them,” said Deandra Comer, the Director of Bridgeway Village.

They broke ground on the village last week. By this time next year they hope 18 women will be in the program.

“It fills up a big gap in care that’s in our community, it frees up beds that might otherwise be being used” said Wise.

The city of Spartanburg plans to use a portion of its  $15 million left in ARPA funds to address the shelter shortage. But in the meantime if you want to help out---you can visit the United Way’s Challenge for Change website.