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Safe Haven Shelter officially is re-open but sits empty this holiday week

Editor’s Note: This is story is part of a series of news stories that The Colletonian is doing to showcase the status of the Safe Haven Shelter and its homeless impact in our community.

The Safe Haven Homeless Shelter is open for anyone in need this week of Christmas, but, as of the press deadline on Tuesday, the shelter was empty.
“It’s a good thing. Maybe anyone in need found family or friends to be with this Christmas,” said Anna Thomas, shelter coordinator.
“We are here if they need us. I’ll be here,” she said.
The shelter officially reopened December 17th. At the time it reopened, there were five people on a waitlist who needed the shelter for the Christmas holiday. However, those people did not respond to inquiries made by Thomas, letting them know the shelter is now open.
According to Thomas, the shelter has received multiple donations to prepare for the holiday season. The shelter has canned goods, food, and cleaning supplies. All utilities have also been reconnected to the shelter, in case anyone in need does arrive, she said.
“People are still calling and donating to us,” Thomas said on Monday. She plans to stay on-call and to be at the shelter on Christmas morning, should anyone need to use the shelter as a temporary home, she said. “People have been so good to us. So good,” she said. “I am so, so happy that this is open again. I love this place and I love being here.”
The shelter officially closed earlier this year, in September, due to a lack of funding. The funding resources come from a state grant and Colleton County Council.
When the shelter closed in September, there were 10 women and children who were staying at Safe Haven. After reaching out to the community for donations to help it reopen, Lowcountry Community Action Agency Executive Director Tara Glover said last week that the shelter received an “outpouring” of help. This came in the form of financial donations and grocery donations from businesses, churches, and residents.
The LCAA is the Colleton County organization that oversees the shelter.
In all, Glover said she had received slightly more than $5,000 in donations. This money is allocated to pay for the shelter’s expenses, she said.
“We have had a tremendous amount of support from our community. I am so grateful and so thankful that our community came together,” said Glover.
The shelter is the only homeless shelter in Colleton County.
According to Glover, the Safe Haven Homeless Shelter acts as a “safe house” for any homeless person for up to 30 days. LCAA staff also help clients of the shelter to find employment and new housing. As a part of the provided assistance, the LCAA also pays for each clients’ first month’s rent in their new apartment. Additionally, furniture, appliances, and clothing for the newly rehomed clients are either donated by area businesses or are supplied by the shelter.
Glover anticipates there is enough funding to keep the shelter for the next several weeks, she said.
Starting in 2020, she plans to begin seeking funding from state and local entities to keep the shelter operational year-round, she said. This includes again seeking a state grant: this grant was not given to the shelter for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Glover says this is because she was placed into the executive director as an interim and was unaware of the grant cycle process.
Anyone needing to stay at the shelter, or who wants to donate food items or personal hygiene items, can call Thomas at 843-599-9270.
The Safe Haven Homeless Shelter is for women, children, and “married couples.” This stipulation allows for the husbands of women and children to stay at the shelter and keep families together, said Glover.

Heather Walters (1738 Posts)