‘There’s a need out there’: Leaders look for new ideas to help North Myrtle Beach homeless population

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 9:01 PM EDT
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Across the Grand Strand, there are programs to help the homeless population, but some leaders say they feel stuck when it comes to improving those programs.

Just in North Myrtle Beach, a spokesperson for the city said that there has been a rise in homeless people.

Because of that, Jolene Puffer, a resident in North Myrtle Beach, put together a connection meeting at the Bay Watch Hotel so that those who help the homeless can come together and find new ways to help those in need of a roof over their heads.

Some of the groups that took part are Hopes Kitchen, Sea Haven, New Directions and North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad.

They discussed the issues they were having when it comes to helping the homeless.

Diane Shell, who started volunteering with Hope’s Kitchen after her husband died, said there are moments she has trouble pointing those in need in the right direction to get help.

“There’s a need out there for people and when they ask me, ‘Where I can get this?’ or ‘Where can I get that?’ All I can do is sympathize with them, and I don’t know where to go to have an answer for people,” said Shell.

CEO Micheal Woods for Western Carolina Rescue Mission in Asheville spoke at the meeting. Woods said the first step to start the progress to improvement is to provide mental health care.

“If we prioritize, putting mental health professionals on the street, working with these individuals, paying them as local employees, then we can engage to the services that they need,” Woods said.

The other issue he pointed out to leaders was that Horry County needs a transitional program. The program will help those who are homeless to heal and get to a healthy place in life.

“To be homeless you’ve been traumatized. There’s a trauma that is taking place that is the cause of being homeless or just the act to be homeless that is creating that in your life. Dealing with that in your life from a healthy place i the only way people can overcome that and get out,” said Woods.

Woods mentioned that having a transitional program will be a challenge for homeless people who are OK with being homeless.

There will be another meeting in June to discuss ways to help those who are homeless.

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