‘Heart for homelessness’: Leader chosen to run Rock Hill’s new Pathways center

Rock Hill’s Pathways is getting ready to open the doors to people in need. The group now has a top leader.

Grace Lewis was introduced Tuesday as the new executive director of Pathways, a Christian-based, nonprofit with a mission to create one location for multiple agencies and services for people in crisis.

“I’ve always had a heart for homelessness and agencies and people working together,” Lewis said. “One of the things I feel I do really well is collaborate and bring people together. I feel like it was meant to be.”

Pathways will house more than 20 agencies, said Charles Price, chairman of the Pathways board that is made up of leaders from York County crisis assistance agencies.

“It’s very hard for a person to find services,” Price said. “Often the people in need don’t have transportation. Our goal is to have this single point of entry where people can come and get the services they need.”

Lewis starts Monday at Pathways. She will be hiring a case manager and intake specialist.

“I’m super excited to lead the charge. We are really hitting the ground running here,” Lewis said. “When Pathways opens it will be “another layer of Rock Hill being a significant city in this world and doing a great thing to help our fellow citizens in this community.”

Lewis has 18 years of experience working with nonprofits. Most recently, she served as the chief development officer for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Crescent Region and is the former chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Club of York County. She also was vice president of resource development for the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, according to her LinkedIn profile.

“She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to us,” Price said.

About Pathways

Pathways formed about 18 months ago and is a registered nonprofit. Within 10 months, Pathways leaders raised money through donations and, with the help of South State Bank, purchased the 546 S. Cherry Road site in Rock Hill, Price said.

The 38,000-square-foot facility, a former school, is under renovation. Some agencies will begin moving in July 8, Price said. Security cameras are being installed and fencing is up.

Pathways is planning a grand opening in October, Lewis said.

Agencies at Pathways include Keystone Substance Abuse Services, Catawba Mental Health, Pilgrim’s Inn, Bethel Men’s Warming Center, Family Promise and Habitat for Humanity.

The main part of the building will house Renew Our Community’s Emporium thrift store and clothing closet, Carolina Community Action and Haven Men’s Shelter, Price said. In the new space, Haven is growing from 12 to 40 beds.

The new location means Haven’s clients can more easily access services, said Jim Gill, chairman of the Haven’s board of directors.

“Our guys have to walk or ride a bicycle to get to any services and what happens is they get lost in between,” he said.

Renew Our Community, a day shelter for men and women and crisis assistance agency, will also be housed at Pathways.

Free legal, medical and mental health services will be offered on site, Price said.

“Now, we won’t be making just a phone call, we’re able to make a soft referral to an agency that will have a part-time presence in our building,” said Johnny Allen, Pathways board member and executive director of the Allen Leadership Group.

This “will ensure that our clients get the resources that they need,” Allen said.

An on-site kitchen will serve hot meals each evening with the help of the Salvation Army, Price said.

“We’re really excited about that,” he said.

Pathways will provide limited transportation for people needing other services, Price said. The city of Rock Hill’s new free, public bus system will have a bus stop nearby.

Pathways leaders are continuing to raise money for operation and renovation costs, Price said. He said they spent an unexpected $400,000 meeting updated code requirements in the more than 50-year-old building.

“We’ve had a lot of surprises,” Price said.

Pathways has raised about 60% of its $3 million goal, said Manning Kimmel, Pathways board member and managing partner at OTS Media.

“We’re in an ongoing fundraising mode,” he said.

For more information or to donate, visit pathwaysyc.org or email info@pathwaysyc.org.

Related stories from Rock Hill Herald

Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
Support my work with a digital subscription