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Leaders seek new ideas to help North Myrtle Beach’s homeless population

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Across the Grand Strand there are programs to help the homeless population, but some leaders say they feel stymied when it comes to improving those programs.

Just in North Myrtle Beach, a city spokesperson said there had been an increase in homelessness.

For this reason, Jolene Puffer, a resident of North Myrtle Beach, organized 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. a roof over their heads.

Some of the groups that have participated are Hopes Kitchen, Sea Haven, New Directions, and North Myrtle Beach Fire and Rescue.

They discussed the problems they encountered when it came to helping the homeless.

Diane Shell, who started volunteering with Hope’s Kitchen after her husband’s death, said there were times when she struggled to point those in need in the right direction to get help. aid.

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

CEO Micheal Woods of Western Carolina Rescue Mission in Asheville spoke at the meeting. Woods said the first step to beginning progress toward improvement is providing mental health care.

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

The other issue he reported to leaders was that Horry County needed a transition program. The program will help homeless people heal and find a healthy place in life.

“To be homeless, you have been traumatized. There is a trauma that is happening that is the cause of being homeless or just the act of being homeless that is creating that in your life. Facing this in your life from a healthy place is the only way people can overcome this and get through it,” Woods said.

Woods mentioned that having a transition program will be a challenge for homeless people who come to terms with being homeless.

There will be another meeting in June to discuss ways to help the homeless.

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