Hope House helps homeless students

MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) A non-profit organization is helping homeless students in the Myrtle Beach area.

Hope House of Myrtle Beach is committed to helping homeless students in the county with shelter, food, clothes and graduating from high school so they can reach their life goals.

Mo Shirley is the director of Hope House of Myrtle Beach. She said the statistics of homelessness in the grand strand are startling.

Shirley explained how student move around for shelter. She said, "They'll go from one family's home to another, stay a few weeks there, stay a few weeks here."

Shirley said 60% of homeless kids in Horry County attend Myrtle Beach High School.

Many times families come to Myrtle Beach with hopes of a new life but end up resorting to abandoning their children, Shirley added.

"The thought process is that there is a lot of jobs here but as we know it's quite seasonal," said Shirley.

Curriculum specialist at the high school, Jane Roberts, said donations keep organizations like Hope House running.

Without donations, a former homeless student turned wellness practitioner, Kelly Payne, would not be the woman she is today.

Family issues forced her to become homeless 15 years old and a married woman at 16 years old.

As a tear runs down her cheek, Payne said although she never finished high school, she wants other homeless children to know they can earn a diploma.

Shirley said last year Hope House helped nine students graduate from high school.

The organization is also working to provide dormitory style housing for homeless children in the area.

They are having a fashion show next month to raise money for that project.

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