Facebook

STEP has homes ready for first participants to go from homeless to become contributors to society

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Enlarge photo

The living room is spacious with a sofa-bed part of the furnishings.
 

Jim Fair

The living room is spacious with a sofa-bed part of the furnishings.

 



Enlarge photo

The kitchen has all the appliances and features plenty of cabinet space.
 

Jim Fair

The kitchen has all the appliances and features plenty of cabinet space.

 



Enlarge photo

The bedroom also has a bunk bed where two children can sleep.
 

Jim Fair

The bedroom also has a bunk bed where two children can sleep.

 



Enlarge photo

Some of the Daily Bread Ministries and STEP board members held an open house, dedication and ribbon cutting Tuesday.
 
 

Jim Fair

Some of the Daily Bread Ministries and STEP board members held an open house, dedication and ribbon cutting Tuesday.

 

 



The four empty connecting apartments are not a homeless shelter by any stretch of the imagination.

They are homes – fully furnished and decorated – awaiting the first occupants of the Greer Shelter to Empower People (STEP). “And they are opportunities of hope for families that are temporarily homeless and don’t want to be,” said Don Louis, STEP director.

Tuesday the STEP board and Daily Bread Ministries had an understated public open house, ribbon cutting and dedication for the unique facility that will be home for four participants and their families in a 90-day program that is designed to lead them to jobs, a place to live and become a contributor to society.

The apartments are all one bedroom, with bunk beds, living room, dining area, kitchen and bath with washer and dryer. A sofa in the living room pulls out as a sleeper. “It comfortably sleeps six people,” said Norman West, who has spent the past two years grading and constructing every square inch of the complex.

One apartment is handicap accessible. A roofed-enclosed courtyard, for safety, has wide openings on both ends to allow a breeze to provide a comfortable setting for watching children play or socializing with neighbors.

Six churches contributed to furnishing the apartments.

The complex is at 911 E. Poinsett Street, just a few steps from the Greer Soup Kitchen where the participants will work.

“This homeless shelter was built with his own hammer,” Louis said of West. “Norman’s job was to build it and it’s magnificent.”

West said the finished project was exactly what he envisioned. “Before we started this, its what I thought the finished project would look like,” West said. “This is something the community has never had and we needed it.”

A three-person commission is interviewing and selecting the first occupants. While staying at their apartments the participants will undergo an intensive nationally acclaimed program that will include 24 trained volunteers and 15 facilitators – more than half working with local businesses to help find work the participants when they leave.

“We believe that 90 days in a home and the program will make a difference in their lives in the Upstate,” said Robert McQuaid, executive director of STEP. “There are no seven to twelve steps for hope. This program has been proven and we’re now ready for the next step – finding people to live here.”

The Timken Foundation and John I. Smith Foundation each contributed to the project with a goal of $500,000.

Louis told West his job has been accomplished. “I have spent nearly every day for the past two years here from before the groundbreaking through the construction,” West said.

“July 4 was our nation’s Independence Day. Tuesday is my independence day,” West said. And with that West accepted an invitation to play golf, “the first time in a long time,” he said.

 

 

Share



Related Photo Galleries


Leave a Comment



Trending: Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Obituaries, Chon Restaurant, Allen Bennett Hospital

GREER CALENDAR

View All Events