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$100,000 donation huge lift to homeless rehabilitation center

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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Jeff Smith said he announced the $100,000 donation from his family's philanthropic foundation to challenge large donors to contribute to the Daily Bread Ministries homeless rehabilitation center.
 

Julie McCombs

Jeff Smith said he announced the $100,000 donation from his family's philanthropic foundation to challenge large donors to contribute to the Daily Bread Ministries homeless rehabilitation center.

 



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Left to right: Don Louis, Shelter Project Board chairman and Jeff Smith, Elizabeth Clayton and Travis Olmert, all three John I. Smith Foundation members.
 
 
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Julie McCombs

Left to right: Don Louis, Shelter Project Board chairman and Jeff Smith, Elizabeth Clayton and Travis Olmert, all three John I. Smith Foundation members.

 

 

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Site plans

A $100,000 donation by the John I. Smith Foundation, a philanthropic group that claims it doesn’t have an office, website or telephone, was presented to Daily Bread Ministries today for its planned four-unit homeless rehabilitation shelter.

The money goes toward a unique initiative – Greer STEP, Shelter to Empower People – for a four-unit homeless rehabilitation shelter located behind the Greer Soup Kitchen. Ground is scheduled to be broken Oct. 1 on the $450,000 project with the first occupants entering the 90-day program on Feb. 1, 2015.

The three-unit facility will house up to 3 families, 4 apartments to a unit, and with one apartment for a full-time mentor. A conference room is also included for instruction. A courtyard will provide for a swing set, picnic table and garden. The idea is to keep the families together during the transition.

The housing will be at 509 E. Poinsett Street. A small vacant parcel will separate the complex from the Soup Kitchen.

Participants, who must be homeless and desire not to be homeless qualify, will be required to eat and work at the soup kitchen and attend Bible study.

A licensed mental health counselor will work with individuals to provide self-esteem, emotional and mental confidence and workforce skills to enter the job market.

“This project is a great project and (larger) donors need to take notice of it and make sure it works,” said Jeff Smith, president of the three-member group who are descendents of the Smith and Dillard families of Greer. Elizabeth Clayton is vice president and Travis Olmert is treasurer. 

The media conference, held at the Soup Kitchen, was the foundation’s first and was scheduled to state the need for another $150,000 to be donated. Labor, material and the monies raised to date guarantee the rehabilitation shelter will move forward on schedule.

“This was to send a personal message that we are viable,” said Olmert.

Priority will be given to veterans and families. “It will provide personal relationships with leadership and people we trust and with needs in the area,” said Olmert.

A three-member panel including the director of operations, clergy and a counselor will aid in selecting qualified applicants.

Clayton, who volunteers at the Soup Kitchen, said, “This helps everybody. They work at the Soup Kitchen, get job counseling and have their family with them.”

The result is to give homeless an opportunity to rejoin the work force and become contributors to society while enjoying a renewed qualify of life.

“We will be working with companies in Greer,” Don Louis, Shelter Project Board chairman said. “The pay may allow them to get out of debt early and have their remaining time earn money to provide housing when they leave.”

 

 

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