New funding available for community development projects

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - New funding is available for community development projects in Horry County as of July 1.

More than $400,000 of the $1.67 million has been earmarked for projects in Myrtle Beach. Some of that money is expected to help fund apartments for the homeless along Mr. Joe White Avenue.

Growing up in Myrtle Beach, homelessness was never something Joyce Hartley gave a second thought to.

"You didn't hear of homelessness, and if you did it was something that occurred away from here," Hartley said.

Later in life, however, there was no escaping its reality after a battle with alcohol landed her at Street Reach.

"In no time at all I had just ended on the bottom," Hartley said. "I landed very hard on the bottom ... and I was homeless."

After finishing a six-month program, Hartley began looking to the next step of her recovery.

"I didn't feel comfortable with myself at that time to take off and live back on my own again," she said.

Soon she was handed keys to a transitional living facility and a new start.

"It saves lives," she said adamantly. "The result of programs like this is why I'm sitting here."

Now Hartley is working to extend help to the growing number of people in need of a home in Myrtle Beach.

"I have 180 families without an adequate place to live," said Julia Castillo of the Housing and Benefits Connection Center.

She says even with multiple units for the homeless and transitional living centers already in place, they are still falling short.

"Combine all of those units," she went on to explain. "And combine the need that we are aware of and we are not meeting the need."

It is a need that Hartley has come to know all too well, making it difficult to see so many families in need of a place to live.

"The facilities just aren't there, they're not there so we just really need housing that's affordable for those people that are trying to make a start again," Hartley said.

A spokesperson for the City of Myrtle Beach says they are currently in the process of buying the property along Mr. Joe White Avenue in Myrtle Beach to build the new transitional living facility.

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