Local group works to provide housing to homeless veterans

Local group works to provide housing to homeless veterans

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Eastern Carolina Homelessness Organization makes it their mission to provide support and service for anyone in need of a home.

The nonprofit organization covers 12 different counties in the upper eastern portion of South Carolina.

ECHO provides permanent housing, case management, supportive services and temporary financial assistance to homeless or at-risk-of-homelessness families and individuals.

One area in Myrtle Beach that ECHO provides service to is veterans.

The organization converted an abandoned old hotel on Seventh Avenue North and Chester Street in Myrtle Beach to the Palms Court Studio Apartments to give veterans a place to live.

On Tuesday, the former landlord left and also left behind a lot of issues. ECHO said it received a few panicked phone calls of veterans fearing they would be kicked out.

The goal is to make sure the homeless need is taken care of. There are seven vacant rooms at Palms Court and when Diana Adams arrived Tuesday, she saw the issues.

"What we are trying to do is get the rooms up to standard - two of them already are - so that we can offer them to the homeless veterans," Adams said. "They require two sinks. We had one that was not functioning and we had a plumber out here making it work. We had a locksmith changing keys."

Adams said not everyone who lives at Palms Court is a veteran and receives help through ECHO. Some are families, single mothers, retirees or on disability, she added.

Sean Scurlock is the program coordinator for the Supportive Services for Veterans Families. He is in charge of placing veterans in a home, a role that is his passion

"I think anyone who does this wants to help people, but especially when you find out that they are a veteran and they are homeless, there is a little extra incentive there because they have already given to this country, and I feel there is a sense of duty for us to give back to those who have already given to us," Scurlock said.

ECHO provides services to everyone and the Supportive Services for Veterans' Families finds a place totally free of charge for at least three months. Additionally, they provide vouchers for more of a long-term care support.

Officials with the nonprofit believe the rate of homelessness is not going down and said 85 percent of unsheltered people are in Horry County.

"The best thing for them to know is there are people who look out for others. There are mechanisms and safety nets that we can help each other if we do fall short or fall on hard times," Scurlock said. "There will be people here who a lot of which have been on the other side of the desk before that are willing to help."

The Palms Court property manager said the rooms are expected to be ready soon to welcome any veteran in need.

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