Grand Strand couple steps up as new program struggles to find housing for refugees
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As Horry County continues to grow and the demand for housing increases, Lutheran Services Carolina’s New American Program is struggling to find housing for refugees.
The New American Program started earlier this year, aiming to help refugees find homes and get settled here in the Grand Strand.
However, Resettlement Director Jodie Shuster said the road has been bumpy.
“We’re finding that it’s very difficult to place our refugees,” Shuster said. “That is the first step to feeling secure in a new area is that you have somewhere to live.”
Shuster said finding homes for refugees in the summer months has been especially difficult. The program had to put refugees in hotels or volunteers’ homes while trying to find them a permanent place to stay.
Two of those volunteers, Mary Jo and Bob Freemon, immediately jumped in to help.
The Freemons took in a man from Iran who waited nearly a decade to get here.
The couple said they signed up as soon as they heard about the new program and said opening up their home is something they would not hesitate to do again.
“He pretty much became like a member of our family in a short period of time,” Bob said.
“He was wonderful,” Mary Jo said. “He was so considerate, helped us around the house, mowed the lawn, trimmed the bushes, he was just a great guy.”
Now, Shuster said they are looking for any local leasing agencies or property management companies to help with placing refugees.
She said they have helped 38 refugee families since starting the program in March and currently have all but one family in permanent housing.
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