Community Foundation gift honors their wishes to assist families in crisis

While they were living, J.C. and Dorothy Frazier served their country in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later cared for Greenville-area pets through their veterinary practice, Frazier Animal Hospital. So it’s no surprise that the couple wanted to continue to be a force for good in the community beyond their lifetime.

“Before Mrs. Frazier passed away in 2015, she visited the Community Foundation with her attorney to discuss the possibility of creating an endowed fund with a bequest in their name,” said Bob Morris, president of the Community Foundation. “She shared her desire to support animals, the elderly, and families in crisis. It was this endowment that made it possible for us to make a contribution of $50,000 this summer to the Greenville Homeless Alliance.”

The Greenville Homeless Alliance is a collaboration of individuals and organizations seeking or creating solutions for individuals and families that lack a fixed, regular, or adequate nighttime residence.

“Because of the Community Foundation’s support, collaborative efforts led by the Greenville Homeless Alliance are working to make homelessness brief and rare as we pursue our shared vision of safe, affordable homes for all in Greenville,” said Susan McLarty, coordinator for the Greenville Homeless Alliance.

In addition to raising awareness and advocating for broader system-level changes to reduce homelessness, the GHA facilitates cooperation among member organizations, allowing them to respond more quickly and efficiently to ongoing and emergent needs.

One example of such efforts is the creation of a Motel Closure Response Plan. After the Economy Inn motel was condemned in January, leaving about 150 residents with nowhere to go, GHA leaders began working on a response plan to prepare for future closures. On Aug. 7, 20 volunteers ranging in age from their teens to 70s participated in a simulation of a motel closure. The exercise revealed a need for more shelter capacity to handle sudden homelessness, regardless of the cause.

“This plan puts in motion a response by 35 organizations of over 80 commitments of resources during a future motel closure,” McLarty said. “Other cities are requesting information on this uniquely Greenville cooperative plan between government and nonprofits.”

GHA is also working to expand permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, defined as being homeless for one year or more, or for intervals totaling one year over the past three years.

“GHA collected economic data of 92 percent overall cost reduction to taxpayers from a local, evidence-based model, Reedy Place, built and managed by United Housing Connections,” McLarty said. “Some of our partners were inspired to assist in ensuring the sustainability of Reedy Place, and developing more housing of this type.”

Housing instability causes academic challenges for students, so GHA is working to ensure that families with children in Greenville County Schools who experience homelessness find stable interim housing as a bridge to attaining a permanent home. With partners, they are developing Second Chance, a training and certification program for parents with multiple evictions, collaborating with property managers to give families a second chance, and strengthening wraparound services that support stabilization of housing.

“Based on data from Public Education Partners, increasing the high school graduation rate from 87 percent to 90 percent would increase economic activity in the Greenville metropolitan area by $9.4 million in a single year,” McLarty said. “We are shifting the mindset to ‘This is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.’”

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