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Darlene Corbett is hugged by Faith Roberts as Corbett transforms the bathroom in the new house for residents Saturday, Nov. Lynette Woods, who will be house mother, unpacks groceries as Walking Women Welfare prepares its new house for residents Saturday, Nov. Hundreds of women in the Charleston area don't Moncks corner females a safe place to call home. With few options available to shelter, many take refuge in motels, their cars or the woods. But now, they have a new recourse — two transition houses opening their doors specifically for women.
With few choices available, many take refuge in motels, their cars or the woods. But now, two transition houses are opening their doors specifically to women. The houses are the longtime goal of Walking Women Welfare, a group devoted to assisting women affected by homelessness.
Some of the group's volunteers have struggled with homelessness themselves, learning firsthand how little assistance or attention is available. The group searched for a rental house for over a year to use as a shelter.
They'd scour listings, trying to find the right price, the right location, the right fit. But month after month, they received nothing but rejections. Many of the women felt it was the stigma of homelessness standing in their way. Then, finally, the group got its chance. Pastor Alfrieda Deas-Potts, a leader of Walking Women Welfare, spoke to a man in her recovery program who was moving out of his Moncks Corner home but was unsure of how to pay the mortgage.
She offered him a solution: Her group would move in and make sure it got paid. After so much searching, that conversation in October rapidly turned into a November move-in. The group had the furniture and volunteers Moncks corner females. It was time to make the home they dreamed of — and prepare for a second house to open in December. On that day, they put together a house for five women in desperate need of somewhere to live — a detour from their regular Saturday routine of packing into their cars to visit motels across North Charleston, where they'd give out clothes, food and hygiene products to women without their own homes.
After they rolled up to the house, they wasted no time getting it ready. First came the washer and dryer, then the beds and mattresses. A couch, a dresser, a dining room table. For months, the furniture sat in a storage unit and in Deas-Potts' garage. While volunteers loaded it into the house, some women stopped to take it all in. I just love the smell," Deas-Potts said. The Faith Abides program for women will be modeled on her Bounce Back facility, a transitional housing program for homeless men that she started in North Charleston in Some of those residents helped move in the women's furniture.
Once the furniture was in place, it was time to start the "beautification," as one woman called it. Some women devoted themselves to the living room, moving the couch this way or that, trying to make it fit with the other chairs. At some points they worried Moncks corner females maybe they'd grabbed too much furniture and would have to transport some back.
Lynette Woods, who will be the "house mother," came back with food to stock the shelves and the refrigerator. While getting the house ready for the five women, she also prepared to move in herself. When she first heard the group had found a house, Woods said she immediately started crying.
On their many days of outreach in the community, Woods often spent half the time on her phone, searching for suitable rental homes to apply for.
The endless rejections weighed on her. Faith Roberts, another volunteer for Walking Women Welfare, had the same reaction. I was so overwhelmed with joy and excitement and gratitude," Roberts said. We truly believed from the bottom of our hearts that this was going to be," she said. All of that staying up, all of that calling people and getting turned down.
That sense of relief and joy filled the house on the day of the move-in. Laughing, singing, the women divided and conquered. One volunteer, Darlene Corbett, tackled the hall bathroom. Pink is her favorite color, Corbett said, so she hung pink towels beside the floral shower curtain. A group of women started assembling curtains for the living room, while others began readying the bedrooms.
Besides culminating a year of planning and hoping, the project was also a trial run. This house was only the first, Deas-Potts said. Her organization is ready to keep growing. Women affected by homelessness can be particularly vulnerable to abusers and predators, but there aren't as many resources to help women get back on their feet Moncks corner females there are for men facing homelessness. Moncks corner females, affordable housing can be particularly difficult to find, even in a shelter. There are few shelters in the Charleston area, and even fewer for single women. The State of Homelessness Report conducted by the S.
Interagency Council on Homelessness counted 1, people affected by homelessness in the Lowcountry. About 30 percent, or individuals, were women and 13 percent of the homeless said they were taking care of at least one. Many service providers say these s are an undercount. Shontia Gilliard started the Favor Foundation in to provide outreach to the homeless. The job can be challenging, she said. In October, one woman called her, desperate for housing.
Gilliard reached out to everyone she knew in Charleston but couldn't find anyone able or willing to help. That frustration led her to partner with Walking Women Welfare. At the beginning of December, Gilliard will open a home in North Charleston to serve and house five women. The house will be open to women who face numerous obstacles, including domestic violence or addiction. Gilliard will use her connections and knowledge to refer the women to agencies that can help them get training and employment.
She Moncks corner females the resources for homeless women will keep increasing. Right now, the need is greater than the help available, and she's often given the runaround when she tries to connect women to needed services. We want them to feel loved, we want them to feel important and valued," Gilliard said.
Tatetia Cross has been homeless for a year. After losing her employment, she's spent the last several months living in a Holiday Inn. During the last year, she was often dependent on help from friends or even strangers. She'd reach out to Facebook groups for help as she lived "day by day," Cross said. Since moving in, she said she has felt a love and respect that's been missing.
For Cassandra Joy Graves, getting the call that she could live in the Faith Abides home was one of the best things that ever happened to her. For months she lived with a relative in Columbia, where she grew up, but said she never had any quiet or peace of mind. She had trouble searching for a new place to live because of the COVID pandemic and her disability, which leaves her unable to work. One morning after moving in, she awoke in her new bed and realized she was out of that situation.
I feel like I'm at home. Another new resident, Ellen Bennett, said she was left completely homeless after a family living situation turned sour. She's been unemployed due to the pandemic. Rosie Peltz, who has lived in various shelters in the Charleston area, said there's a world of difference between that life and living in this house. She has her own space, but more than that, she feels like someone's finally listening to what she's experiencing. With other assistance programs, she felt that her problems were ignored or that promises to help her weren't kept.
Shontia Gilliard is excited to find matching curtains in donations as she helps decorate the new house for Walking Women Welfare Saturday, Nov. Faith Roberts with Walking Women Welfare organizes one of three bedrooms in the new house for residents Saturday, Nov. After a year of searching, the Walking Women Welfare, finds transitional house to help women with homelessness. For Deas-Potts, that family is only going to keep getting bigger. Along with Favor Foundation's new house in North Charleston, Deas-Potts said the group is eyeing a house in Hollywood as the next project. Next month, volunteers still will be doing outreach, stopping by motels, parking lots and even the woods, looking for both men and women who need help.
That help can be a bowl of soup, a bar of soap, or just someone to listen.
The work doesn't end with one house, or even the 10th. It takes women to help women, the Walking Women Welfare group believes. And they're just getting started. Fleming Smith covers crime and public safety for the Charleston area. Edit Close. Toggle Menu. Close 1 of 5. Buy Now. Grace Beahm Alford gbeahm postandcourier. Real Estate. In Charleston, women without homes have few places to go. Some are trying to change that. By Fleming Smith fsmith postandcourier. Frustrated with North Charleston's homelessness issue, community works to address epidemic. By Rickey Ciapha Dennis Jr.
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