The Closing of Tent City

The Closing of Tent City
and
Creating Community Solutions to Improve the Continuing Reality of Homelessness in the Upstate

This past week the City of Greenville closed Tent City. The Greenville News reports that about half of its residents have moved into a variety of shelters or other housing situations with the help local organizations and agencies. We commend those who have worked tirelessly to support Tent City residents. The remaining residents of Tent City have simply moved their camps or joined other encampments that still exist in the Upstate. Closing Tent City treated a symptom of homelessness, and we can all recognize that the problem had to be addressed.
However, we must be realistic – homelessness is an on-going issue that many face every day.  Homelessness remains in our area and across the upstate. As challenging economic conditions persist, and coupled with declining affordable housing, the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness remains constant or even increasing as our community grows.

We call on the Upstate community to join us in seeking creative, compassionate and effective strategies to end homelessness. It is a big issue and only one part of the even more massive issue of poverty. We need to decide, as a community, what are the minimum living conditions we are willing to support in Greenville?  Certainly we can agree, the conditions of Tent City were below our standards.

United Housing Connections will host a second Community Forum event to address the issues of homelessness.  The Community Forum events will be held every six months and foster community discussion, illuminate the issues and inspire creative actions. The next event will be:

Housing Solutions for the Homeless
October 14
7:00 p.m.
The Kroc Center, 424 Westfield Street, Greenville SC  29601
FREE and open to the public

Please join us for a public discussion and become a part of the solution! United Housing Connections & the Upstate COC welcome keynote speaker Will Connelly, who was featured in a February CBS 60 Minutes story on homelessness. Connelly is the Director of the Metropolitan Homeless Commission in Nashville. The Commission aligns itself with 100,000 Homes, a national campaign with the goal of providing 100,000 homes to the most chronic and medically vulnerable homeless population. Learn how this community is finding creative solutions for ending homelessness and how we might be able to adapt them for the Upstate. RSVP by emailing info@unitedhousingconnections.org or calling (864) 241-0462.

This spring, UHC introduced a new housing initiative, Restore A Home. The goal is to move homeless individuals or families into a home as quickly as possible. These homes will be endowed properties – by receiving donated homes and renovated on a “fully” donated basis. UHC will modestly renovate targeted properties so that the homes will have no cost basis.  UHC will be able to offer the homes to homeless rent and utility-free for four months and housing for up to 12 months. This provides residents with the opportunity to get on their feet and transition back into a stable living environment.

With the help of countless volunteers, donors and dedicated staff, UHC will complete and provide it’s first Restore A Home to previously homeless residents in early October. We are excited to have former Tent City residents Steve and Mary as the first RAH occupants!

United Housing Connections works with many organizations and agencies across 13 counties in Upstate South Carolina. Together, we marshal resources for housing, medical care, education and much, much more. If you, or someone you know, are in need of assistance, call us at 864-241-0462 or visit the Need Help? section of our website www.unitedhousingconnections.org. There, we have dozens of resources listed by county and category to assist. We also encourage you to apply for housing through UHC programs.

We will do our very best to keep the public informed of the ongoing status of homelessness in the area. Visit the Social Media section of www.unitedhousingconnections.org to find the many ways to keep up with the news and to join our mailing list.

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