GREENWOOD, SC – Many people in Greenwood do not consider homelessness a problem in their hometown. With images flooding television screens of people stepping over and around the homeless while walking down the street, people living under bridges and people gathered around a fire in a 55-gallon drum in a dark side alley, it is not hard to see why residents of Greenwood are unaware of this rapidly growing problem right here at home. Pathway House, a new nondenominational emergency shelter, hopes to step in and begin alleviating the problem before it reaches the large scale seen in many of America’s larger cities.
Pathway House started as a vision of some people in the community back in 2009. Many of those people were behind what is now known as the United Center for Community Care, or UC3. Those people, most of which are now on the board of the Pathway House, began putting together plans for an emergency shelter, led by community visionary Dr. Jack Parham. In 2010, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, with the help of about 170 volunteers, opened a temporary shelter at their campus on Rivers Street. Initially, the shelter would only open when the temperature dropped below 32°, but it began opening when the temperature dropped below 40° in February 2011. During the winter of 2011-2012, St. Mark’s experienced a 240% increase in the use of the shelter over 2010-2011.
Pathway House has secured non-profit status and is now launching a major capital campaign to fund the construction and operation of a more permanent shelter for Greenwood County. Pathway House currently has plans for a 40-bed facility. The group has already purchased a portion of Abney Memorial Church and has plans to purchase the remainder of the facility once the church moves to their new location.
Currently, St. Mark’s is providing emergency shelter for men and Main Street United Methodist Church is providing emergency shelter for women. Both facilities, along with the new one, will open when the temperature is anticipated to drop below 40°.
The Greenwood Pathway House will be wrapping Christmas gifts in December to raise money for the shelter. Times and places are to the right.
For more information about Greenwood Pathway House call Cassy Funderburk at (864) 980-6117.