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City of Charleston and partners cut ribbon on homeless daytime resource center

  • Updated

A daytime resource center to help Charleston residents struggling with homelessness is up and running.

The All of Us Resource Center, housed in a former Head Start Center at 529 Meeting St., provides a computer lab, legal advice, laundry, showers, career training, a medical clinic with tele-health capabilities and other services.

Its partners include the YWCA of Greater Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina's Department of Family Medicine.

The center will open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The center will provide a "one-stop shop" for residents of Charleston struggling with housing insecurity.

Mayor John Tecklenburg said Thursday the city's Commission on Homelessness and Affordable Housing has explored how to serve those in need, especially after the 2016 relocation of residents in the encampment known as Tent City.

The city pays for the center's utilities, including electricity, and leased the property from its owner, Hal Kaplan, for $1 a year.

"I knew it was going to be empty for a while, and I just kind of took a chance," Tecklenburg said. "To my surprise, he was so gracious and he immediately said 'yes.'"

The center was built in less than a month thanks to donated supplies and services.

Melissa Moore, executive director of the nonprofit We Are Family, which will run much of the center's programming, said the opening was a dream come true. She thanked the clients who voted on the center's name, the mayor and City Council and others who helped make it happen.

Some people even volunteered their time to work over Memorial Day weekend. 

"Everyone says millennials are lazy," Moore joked. "I don't believe it."

Some services offered, such as showers and laundry, are ones many people take for granted and are necessary to give people a sense of dignity, said LaVanda Brown, executive director of the YWCA of Greater Charleston.

"This center is going to restore that confidence," Brown said. "This center is going to restore that dignity."

The entire technology lab, which included 10 desktop computers and 10 laptops with internet, was provided by Google. Lilyn Hester, Google's head of southeast external affairs, said the company also is working on installing vinyl flooring for the technology lab.

The city has a full-time employee doing street outreach who can refer those struggling with housing insecurity to the center. It is open to all Charleston residents struggling with food or housing problems. 

A previous version of this story contained an error. It has been updated.

Reach Jesse Naranjo at 843-937-5764. Follow him on Twitter @jesselnaranjo.

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