As the temperatures go down in the Lowcountry, the need to shelter the homeless goes up. Summerville, South Carolina, is no different from other communities when it comes to having a homeless population, and for a city its size, Summerville is coping better than most. But the newly opened Lowcountry Home of Hope is struggling to keep the lights on and would benefit from a corporate partner.
The July 25, 2015, “Donation Day” was a huge success and outfitted the shelter with toiletries, furniture, bedding, and other basics, and since the doors opened in October, private citizens and churches have been overwhelmingly supportive. Stan Burtt, the shelter’s executive director, said yesterday, “The generosity of the community has been shocking; and heartwarming.”
Unlike most shelters of its kind, the Lowcountry Home of Home accepts “dinner donations” at the door. In fact, while this Examiner was visiting yesterday, a piping hot dessert, accompanied by a bag of Starbucks coffee, was dropped off at the 821 Central Avenue location. Burtt admits it’s a bit unorthodox to operate that way, but it’s worked so well that food expenses at the shelter have been nearly zero.
The facility is at capacity now with 12 residents, some of whom are veterans. But the home is in dire need of an influx of cash to keep the lights on. While the Town of Summerville generously gifted the Home of Hope a full year of rent, other operating expenses like utilities and insurance, must be paid to keep the facility operational. Even with the city covering the rent, the day-to-day expenses are over $4,000 per month.
To date, all financial donations have been from local churches and individuals. The Home of Hope desperately needs a corporate sponsor. The facility’s non-profit status makes all donations tax deductible.
Residents of Dorchester and Berkeley counties might be surprised to know that of the estimated 200 homeless people in the community, many are considered “unwilling homeless” due to job losses, poor financial decisions, substance abuse, or mental challenges. The small shelter recognizes that it will never be able to provide service to everyone in need, but already it has made a difference for many.
The Home of Hope has a wish list. Topping the chart is financial contributions which can be made online here. Interestingly, pillowcases are also on the wish list and for one of their residents, a pair of size 18 shoes would be great. They also need concerned citizens to volunteer to be on the Board of Directors.
Possible corporate sponsors can contact Stan Burtt at 843-469-8858 or Marty Thomas at 631-219-2475 to inquire about helping with this community effort. The Home of Hope is a faith-based organization providing shelter for men only.