House programs

From homelessness to homes: Meg’s House programs are making an impact | News

Bob says that “stealing to eat” and “living in abandoned spaces” were necessary to survive when he lived on the streets.

The idea of ​​killing himself sometimes tormented him.

“I was arrested for stealing food,” Bob said. “Do you want to know how much I weighed? One hundred and ten pounds.

Will says his alcohol and marijuana problems started when he was 19.

“I was 17 when my first daughter was born,” Will said. “My struggles with alcohol intensified, even after I got married later. … I took five programs before I got sober and suffered the loss of parents and twins.

Mental health and cardiovascular issues were also barriers for Will.

“The advice and management are helpful,” said Will. “I found myself homeless for the first time in 2015 after my mother passed away. I had to sell his house after his death to pay for his funeral. … When I finally entered a homeless mission in the upstate, I had had nothing to eat for a week.

A network of nonprofits and Lakelands framework housing programs through Meg’s House helped Bob and Will out of these scenarios.

“Next April, I’ll have four years of sobriety,” Will said.

Neither of the clients of the accommodation uses their full name, but both have agreed to share their stories with the Index-Journal.

While many may be familiar with Meg’s House’s support services, in order to reduce the impact of domestic violence in the Lakelands, part of this non-profit organization’s mission is to tackle chronic homelessness as well. in the communities it serves.

“These programs literally got us out of homelessness,” says Bob, who said he first tried cocaine at the age of 12 after meeting an older crowd and then experimenting with heroin. “I got clean, got married and had children, and then killed two women. … The bad decisions and the rotten choices were mine afterwards.

Fast forward to now and he finds help and a home through Meg’s house.

“People have given us the opportunity to have our own homes and to become functional human beings,” said Bob.

Addiction, devastating losses and hardships have followed Bob and Will at different times in their lives, but they say free medical and dental care through the Greater Greenwood United Ministry and getting back on track at through the Greenwood Pathway House helped them find their way to Meg’s house. housing programs.

“Before the days of desperation, I worked almost every day of my life to take care of my two children,” said Bob. “But, when I got to that point, Operation Impact through Meg’s House got me an apartment, and it’s nice, clean and safe. Every day I wake up and say, “Thank goodness” because permanent housing saved my life. “

Candace Timmerman, director of housing programs at Meg’s House, said Bob and Will are in what is considered permanent housing, funded by federal programs from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“All of our programs follow a Housing First model,” said Timmerman. “They can come in with no income, no pre-requisite clean time, and no requirement to attend services, because how are you supposed to do treatment or other services when you don’t even have a permanent address?” No income or low income is a high risk of homelessness, period. “

Timmerman said the main contributors to homelessness include: access to affordable housing, income inequality, racial disparities, domestic violence and substance abuse.

“Clients of our permanent housing programs are required to sign occupancy agreements,” said Timmerman. “We work with our property managers and clients and try to bring in recovery specialists and other services to help our clients. With Housing First, you provide that and you integrate other services around them.

“There is so much demand and not enough supply of housing,” said Timmerman. “You have to go through an assessment to determine your high-risk behaviors and chronic vulnerability to end up on the streets.”

Housing programs like Project HOPE and Operation Impact aren’t the only ways Meg’s House is trying to help.

Meg’s House hosted awareness activities for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 13-21.

Cold weather items were distributed to guests at the Greenwood Soup Kitchen, and fundraisers were held to support Meg’s House’s programs to help the homeless.

“This year, our annual homeless tally, the one-time tally, will be Jan. 26, to gauge the number of people in a shelter or on the streets,” said Timmerman. “If you are homeless, call Greenwood Pathway House, 864-223-4460. They, Meg’s House, are a point of entry for our Meg’s House housing programs.

To find out if you may be eligible for housing, call United Housing Connections Intake and Referral 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at 864-241-0462. Press 2 for a housing appraisal appointment.

Contact Sainte-Claire Donaghy at 864-943-2518.