Charleston has 22 more beds for homeless families, thanks to an outpouring of community support.
The expansion of One80 Place’s Family Center was unveiled Friday as staff and community leaders thanked supporters. The staff hopes to move new residents in next week, according to board Chairman Scott Adams.
About a fourth of the shelter's guests are women and families, according to Development Director Marco Corona. The Family Center had 40 beds before the renovation and 62 now.
South Carolina Electric & Gas provided a $75,000 grant and volunteers for the demolition to make room for the expansion, as well as assembling the new beds. SCE&G also had built the playground outside the Family Center.
“I am blessed by God to work with these ladies and gentlemen, and I see what they do,” Keller Kissam, the utility’s president of retail operations, said during the dedication ceremony.
Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church donated $15,000 toward the project.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said addressing homelessness has been a priority since he took office and helped relocate those camping in the so-called Tent City near the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
“I believe we are judged … by how we treat those in our community most in need,” he said. “The mission here … is to empower people to get back in the mainstream of being able to provide for themselves.”
Rush Dixon Architects and Chastain Construction designed and developed the project.
One80 Place CEO Stacey Denaux said after the ceremony that she’s thankful for the new beds for short-term shelter, but that’s not the biggest need to address homelessness.
“What we need is more affordable housing, not more shelter," she said. "As a community, we’ve got to get serious about creating more affordable housing.”
That’s the goal for the old building at 573 Meeting St. It’s been vacant since 2014, when a new shelter was built behind it on Walnut Street. The shelter also changed its name from Crisis Ministries to One80 Place around that time.
The city recently rezoned the old building from general business to mixed-use. The next step is to get permission from the city’s Board of Architectural Review to tear down the old building, which was built in the 1950s as a Piggly Wiggly Warehouse.
The board hopes to replace it with a mix of market-rate and low-cost apartments over offices and retail.
Anyone who needs to find temporary housing is invited to call the shelter's hotline at 843-737-8357.