New facility aims to help Rock Hill SC’s homeless population
Rock Hill could one day offer a single site where those in need would find help.
The site would be called Pathways Community Center and is the vision of Rock Hill businesses, churches, government agencies and community leaders, a recent release states.
Chairman Charles Price said Pathways is a Christian-based organization whose mission is to create one location for multiple agencies and provide services for people in crisis.
Pathways formed in January and is formally filing for nonprofit status, said WRHI radio personality Manning Kimmel, one of the citizens working on this effort. Kimmel said the organization is also working to finalize how the facility and its initiatives will be funded.
Price said Pathways has made an offer to buy Northside Baptist Church, off Curtis Street near Dave Lyle Boulevard in Rock Hill, and hopes to open the center in 2019. Officials did not disclose the offer amount because the arrangement is not yet final.
“We’re excited about it, there’s definitely a need in Rock Hill and it’s our job to provide this facility and to serve the agencies,” Price said.
Pathways has invited local agencies such as the Haven Men’s Shelter in Rock Hill, Salvation Army, Family Promise of York County and Pilgrim’s Inn to join. The list of what agencies would be represented at the center has not yet been finalized, Price said.
Rock Hill’s Renew Our Community, a crisis assistance center at the edge of downtown, would be one agency that might move to the new facility, executive director Bruce McKagan said. He said ROC has been looking for a different site.
“Downtown Rock Hill is expanding and the property we’re sitting on is prime property in this community,” McKagan said. “We’re busting at the seams so we need a bigger place. This is our golden opportunity.”
As Rock Hill’s population grows, so does the number of people in crisis, McKagan said.
Rock Hill had a population of about 73,000 as of July 1, 2016, a 9.6 percent increase since April 1, 2010, according to the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau. York County had about 258,500 people, a 14.1 percent increase since 2010.
McKagan said Rock Hill’s men’s and women’s warming shelters, which are typically open each year from November to April, have seen their numbers increase.
He said the shelters had seen 7-8 women and 25 men a night, but more recently have seen about 20 women and 65 men a night. ROC, which opened in 2011, has gone from serving about 50 people a day to 100-150 people a day, he said.
“We’re exploding,” McKagan said. “Our need in this community is expanding.”
Pathways also partners with Catawba Area Coalition for the Homeless, or CACH, agencies. CACH is a community organization focused on safe and affordable housing for individuals and families in York, Lancaster and Chester Counties.
“We’re here to fund a facility for CACH agencies … so they can work together and collaborate for the good of the needy and homeless,” he said. “Collaboration is the key. The more we work together, the more we will be able to offer.”
The Pathways center would bring agencies together to meet a variety of needs, including shelter, food, clothing, spiritual guidance, transportation, education and life skills, according to a release last week from Pathways. Price said the center hopes to provide a bus for the agencies’ use.
“All of these things will make it easier to serve the people in this area,” he said. “Our intent is to not just give them a place to stay, but to transition them through temporary housing to permanent housing.”
All of these things will make it easier to serve the people in this area.
Charles Price, Pathways Community Center chairman
Pathways leaders would assist agencies in coordinating efforts, but the agencies would continue to provide their services, Price said.
“We’re excited to partner with CACH,” he said. “We want everyone to know we aren’t driving their decisions, we’re just offering them a service.”
ROC, along with the other agencies at the proposed center, would work to help people, McKagan said.
“All of us will be able to embrace them and move them on to a continuum of care we can all take care of, whether its mental health, substance abuse...whatever it is, we can collectively start moving them ahead,” he said. “If I’m a client that’s struggling with life in general, I usually don’t know what my issues are. Here we can help them identify those issues and help with solutions for those issues.”
If I’m a client that’s struggling with life in general, I usually don’t know what my issues are. Here we can help them identify those issues and help with solutions for those issues.
Bruce McKagan, executive director of Renew Our Community
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082