ROC wants to help create a Fort Mill homeless shelter

joverman@fortmilltimes.comJune 19, 2013 

— Officials with Renew Our Community, a Rock Hill-based organization that serves the homeless and needy in York County, said Thursday it plans to reach out to Fort Mill’s homeless population and connect them with services they may need.

Fort Mill’s homeless population suffers from “a disconnect,” said ROC board member Bruce McKagan, because they lack transportation to get them to the services provided in Rock Hill, including substance abuse counseling, shelters and soup kitchens.

“The idea is to get the services to them,” said McKagan.

ROC leaders, who organized a meeting at Grace Presbyterian Church Thursday to discuss how to help local homeless people, plan to come to the Fort Mill area weekly beginning July 18 and offer transportation to ROC’s office in downtown Rock Hill. There, they can be assessed by ROC coordinators, who can help determine what services each person needs.

“We’d like to be the incubator for the York County area, so we’re not sending people everywhere. It’s a one-stop shop. So you don’t have to go a lot of places, because people in need don’t want to hear, ‘You need to go somewhere else,’” said ROC Director Iris Small Hubbard.

ROC operates with help from volunteer staff. More volunteers will be needed to help with this effort, said Hubbard.

“If you have a desire, we will get you there tomorrow and fast-track training,” she said. “The more volunteers we have, the more services we can offer.”

Volunteers do jobs ranging from providing snacks, teaching people how to create a resume or an email address, to providing transportation.

“There is something for everyone,” Hubbard said.

Renew Our Community is a community service organization that collaborates with churches, groups and agencies in the county to assist homeless and needy people. They provide life coaching and life renewal plans to help clients become self sufficient, as well as connect clients to services in the county. They also provide a facility where clients can use the phone, internet, and have space to work.

They also provide assistance with job skills and training.

“Our mission is renewal,” Dove said. “To get people back into the mainstream.”

Long-term goals

While transportation to ROC will help bridge the gap in services for Fort Mill’s homeless in the short term, long-term planning to help the community’s homeless has already begun.

At the meeting Thursday night, church leaders and community members gathered to find out how they can help the homeless in the township. ROC founder Dale Dove said ultimately, Fort Mill needs a center similar to ROC in the township.

“I will commit to you that I will work with you to get a place in Fort Mill. There are buildings and property people aren’t using. You’ve got plenty of buildings. We’re going to find that and we’re going to find that place in Fort Mill,” Dove said.

He plans to meet with interested community leaders, including Mary Baker of Serving Meals Ministry, church leaders and officials with the Fort Mill Care Center to further explore the idea.

The Fort Mill Care Center is currently looking for a new place to call home. That could be a prime opportunity for the Care Center and other Fort Mill organizations to join forces and find space for a larger center that will house Care Center operations but also serve as a central, one-stop shop for the needy and homeless, including a kitchen, showers, and temporary housing, Dove said.

Another community meeting will be scheduled for next month to continue exploring the idea. The date and time are still to be determined.

The Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service