United Housing Connections and the Upstate Continuum of Care have been awarded nearly $2 million in grant funding to provide safe shelter to Upstate citizens experiencing homelessness and who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms of the disease.
In a press conference on Dec. 17, the organizations and their partners unveiled the facility at White Horse Road Academy, which is owned by the Phoenix Center treatment organization. The space the shelter occupies was once used to house adolescent boys.
The money behind the grant came from the Department of Administration’s Office of Economic Opportunity’s (OEO) Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. CARES Act funding from Greenville County will also be used.
Lorain Crowl, CEO of United Housing Connections, said that local nonprofit groups started discussing the topic of providing COVID-19 care to the homeless population in the area in March.
“Our homeless population is not front and center most of the time. Not that people don’t care — it’s just that there are so many other issues that come along with coronavirus that affect our society. I am so grateful here that Greenville has such partners and such collaborative spirit that this was a font-and-center issue,” said Crowl.
The shelter will have 16 beds at a time but can increase that number to 32. The beds will be divided equally between women and men. Those who need to quarantine will have to go through a shelter in the area to be referred to the White Horse Road Academy facility.
Among the groups that will be working to maintain the shelter are Miracle Hill Ministries, United Ministries, Triune Mercy Center, The Salvation Army, SHARE, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and Prisma Health.
“The ability to find innovative and collaborative ways to care for the least of these during unprecedented times is an amazing aspect of Greenville that makes it unique. As cold weather sets in, and sheltering becomes more difficult, Miracle Hill is thankful for UHC and all the partners that are working together to provide this much-needed service for those we all have been called to serve,” said Ryan Duerk, CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries, in a statement.
“We have so many great organizations that do such great work here,” said Crowl. “As citizens look into helping support our homeless population with your dollars, with your volunteer time, with your advocacy — that’s really the help that we need.”