The Homeless Project
The Waccamaw Center stresses the development of safe, decent and affordable housing for individuals who have a severe and persistent mental disorder. A continuum of housing has been developed for clients who are homeless or live in sub-standard housing.
The PATH grant, which is federally funded, provides salaries for two outreach staff positions to address the needs of homeless mentally ill. Three other positions are funded through a second grant in partnership with Little River Medical Center, a primary health care facility. Among the services offered are assessments, referrals, and case management services involving prevention, intervention and follow-up.
Due to limited resources, the Center relies heavily upon established community relationships. In Horry County, the center developed a private, non-profit corporation Waccamaw Housing Inc. (WHI). Currently three projects have been developed through this relationship. The first was an agreement with local developer to provide 14 one-bedroom units of affordable housing in three phases of Swansgate Apartments in Myrtle Beach. The second project, through a Shelter Plus Care Grant, provides rental assistance vouchers to individuals and families who are homeless in Horry, Williamsburg and Georgetown counties. And the third project is the development of Porter Place Apartments in Williamsburg County, which provides 20 one-bedroom affordable apartments for homeless individuals.
Also, in cooperation with the city of Myrtle Beach and Federal Grants, the Alliance Inn was built and opened in 2004, providing a total of 54 one, two and three bedroom units. An average of 66 children lives at the inn.
In addition, Georgetown Mental Health of America chapter built 12 one-bedroom free standing units the Meadowlands in Andrews, SC for homeless individuals. The WCMH in partnership with the non-profit Home Alliance Inc. developed Balsam Street apartments, which consists of 25 single room units designed to accommodate chronically homeless and disabled males.
Clients in all units receive frequent and often daily contact with WCMH staff. Individuals placed in housing have demonstrated the ability to live independently and are psychiatrically stable. A number of the clients placed in these housing programs are also involved with WCMH employment program, and currently working or learning work skills.