Homeless agencies align to better serve community

Homelessness agencies align

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Hundreds of homeless congregate in Myrtle Beach along Mr. Joe White Avenue for food, shelter, and job assistance, and the city is continuously working to help support them.

New Directions is a coalition of advocacy groups recently formed to better coordinate services. The chair of the group says they meet weekly with one mission in mind: "To help somebody all the way through the continuum of care from domestic violence issues, all the way up to needing short term care, longer term housing to living independently," said Mary Jo Rogers.

On Wednesday, Myrtle Beach committed to give New Directions $130,000, and Friday they plan on asking the county for matching funds. Rogers says more money would make it easier to secure grant money to further their cause.

From losing their homes, to foreclosures, to drug addictions, the homeless all have different reasons as to why they ended up on hard times.

"I fell into the same mistake with an abusive man, and everything was in his name, and I ended up in a battered women's shelter," said Tina Elkins, a homeless woman who currently resides at Street Reach.

Elkins says the city's services have helped her tremendously, but that help can only go as far as the individual is willing to allow them.

"For as many as I know that are out there trying, there is a lot that just don't apply themselves and it's all in how bad you want to better yourself," Elkins said.

New Directions is also working with Charity Tracker to help identify who is receiving services.

"We're using  an ID card system and using it to help track the continuum of care so we know where someone is now and where they need to go in the next steps, what help they've gotten and what help they need," Rogers said.

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