Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter opens in Florence

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW/PRESS RELEASE)- Friends, volunteers, community leaders, and members of the House of Hope organization celebrated the grand opening of the Courtney McGinnis Graham Community Shelter on Sunday afternoon with a ribbon cutting at the shelter on Church Street.

The new shelter represents a broad community collaboration, driven by the contributions of the McGinnis family in honor of their daughter Courtney, a community activist with a special heart for helping the homeless and those in need. Graham died suddenly last year. Local governments, churches, foundations and individuals have contributed to the shelter's upfit and its operational costs.

The House of Hope, a Florence-based non-profit which already operates two transitional shelters in Florence County, will operate the new community shelter.

The shelter will provide daily, temporary housing for approximately 40 individuals. It has separate sections for men, women and families. The roughly 6,000-square foot facility includes kitchen and dining facilities, and space for limited counseling and job search services.

Bryan Braddock, executive of the House of Hope, says the new shelter meets a vital community need.

"The Courtney McGinnis Graham Shelter will help the area's homeless population take a much-needed first step," says Braddock. "We believe it fills something of a void in the community by offering those in need an emergency shelter where the can be safe and can began a process of recovery. We're grateful to all those who have made it possible. It's a wonderful legacy that has come out of the tragedy of Courtney's passing."

The shelter will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Paid staff from House of Hope will provide the administrative backbone for the shelter, but it will depend heavily on volunteers.

Additional supplies and funding is also needed.

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