“Don’t close these doors. Don’t take our hope away.”
–Carrie Leibowitz, also an Opportunity HUB board member.
Susan Ballantyne is president of the nonprofit Opportunity Hub, which oversees the Spartanburg Opportunity Center. The Opportunity Center serves roughly 100 people – mostly elderly homeless men and women – during the daytime, and 85 at at the night shelter. The shelter provides showers, laundry, case management services, housing and job assistance, a medical clinic, free clothes closet, short and long term storage and church services. It serves breakfast, transports to the Soup Kitchen for lunch, and provides dinner and snacks in the evenings.
However, the city ordered the homeless shelter at the Spartanburg Opportunity Center to close. The city owns the building, and Opportunity HUB leases it from the city to operate its Opportunity Center homeless program. City Manager Chris Story ignored the pleas of homeless women and children forced to find a new place to sleep.
“No one feels safe sleeping outside, especially women.”
–Katharine Gibb, a board member of Opportunity HUB, told Council.
Miracle Hill Rescue Mission
City Councilwoman Erica Brown said Miracle Hill Rescue Mission can accommodate the additional homeless men and women. Brown serves on the city’s Homeless Task Force. Miracle Hill Rescue Mission is is a 101-bed emergency shelter. Housed in separate wings, food and clothing along with counseling, discipleship and free medical services are provided.
According to a 2020 Upstate Continuum of Care Point-In-Time, 277 people were identified as homeless in Spartanburg County. In the city, 201 were counted as homeless. City officials, advocates, and experts contend the true number is between 700 to 800.
Meanwhile, there was an inventory of only 188 units and beds. Homelessness continues to be a challenge facing the city, the county, and the country.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided Spartanburg City $16.5 million. The Biden Administration granted Spartanburg County $2.1 million to address homelessness and a lack of shelter space.