Homeless ministry with 60 beds coming to Florence

Homeless ministry with 60 beds coming to Florence

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence will see its first emergency, short-term homeless shelter soon.

The House of Hope of the Pee Dee announced the opening of the building Friday morning. Located off Church Street, the community shelter is named in honor of Courtney McGinnis Graham, who died suddenly less than a year ago.

Even though she won't get to see the initiative she started become a reality, her father, John McGinnis, said he and his wife strove to make sure their daughter's daughter's dream come to fruition.

"It's very gratifying," he said. "We know Courtney wanted this very badly, so we are glad to help provide it."

McGinnis said his daughter passionate about anyone who was in need.

"This is something that had to be done," he said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to help them get their lives turned around and give them a fresh start."

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the 6,000 square-foot building will give men, women and families a place to sleep.

This community shelter is different than the long-term facilitates House of Hope currently operates.

The new facility is for those who need an immediate shelter that they can sleep at for a few days, a week or even a month.  The staff will work with each individual through case management to help them eventually live on their own.

"Generally, when you are looking to bring a homeless shelter into a community, there is some resistance somewhere, said Bryan Braddock, executive director for the House of Hope of the Pee Dee  "It has been a complete, 100 percent collaborative effort from the mayor's office, local organizations, businesses, people involved in downtown development and other charitable organizations. It's just been such a breath of fresh air to see Florence working together to meet this need."

The tragedy of Graham's loss will be turned into hope for so many others.

"Everybody is supporting this and that is very comforting," McGinnis said.

The House of Hope still needs more than $250,000 to furnish the shelter, install security and put in an animal kennel. Hopes are to have it complete and ready for move-in by Aug. 1.

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