Combating Charleston’s Hunger and Homeless Issues

November 13, 2017, 3:19 pm EST | Share:

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (FOX 24 NEWS NOW) — According to a 2016 study, there are more than 5,000 homeless people living in the state of South Carolina.

Between 2015 to 2016, homelessness in the Charleston area saw a decrease, but there has been an uptick more recently. “While the number of people who are homeless has gone down overall, the number of people who are homeless and unsheltered has gone up,” said Marco Corona, Director of Development with One80 Place. “So, as a greater percentage of those who are homeless, there are more people who actually aren’t in a shelter or crashing on couches – that sort of thing.”

According to Corona, some of the contributing factors for homelessness in South Carolina include personal issues like substance abuse and mental health issues. “But you also have economic issues. When you don’t have affordable housing, low income wages, that tends to be a recipe for homelessness.”

“Ultimately, I think what you see is when people have very few – or don’t have a safety support net – they have a lot of traumas or a lot of issues all kind of converging on them at once, that’s when you see homelessness creep in,” he continued. “When someone really kind of has everything going wrong for them and they don’t have a support network.”

That is where One80 Place comes in. They work with Charleston’s homeless to provide a variety of resources, housing assistance, medical care and much more.

“We have an on-site clinic – so as much as your health might be a barrier to your housing, we want to make sure we are addressing that right away,” said Corona. “We also have attorneys and a legal aide. You would be surprised that a lot of these issues that someone who is homeless experiences really needs to be solved with the help of a lawyer.”

They also offer veterans services. “We are in a partnership with the VA to serve veterans in our community by providing case management as well as some housing counseling. So we have people assigned to working with landlords in the community to get them housing.”

He says homeless veterans also have access to all the other services provided at One80 Place, but there is a team specifically dedicated to veterans.

Leaders at One80 Place have established an annual event to help those in need around Thanksgiving called ‘Turkey and a $20.’

The event will be held on Tuesday, November 20th from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at 35 Walnut Street in Charleston.

“What we are looking to do is collect $350 turkeys and raise $25,000,” said Corona. “If we can get to the $25K mark, we have a donor ready and waiting to add an additional $5K.”

They plan to cook 6 to 7 turkeys each week for the rest of the year.

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