Members not yet appointed to homeless task force, work to combat issue continues

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – In March, the City of Myrtle Beach announced a resolution to combat homelessness with the help of a formal task force.

The task force would appoint 11 members and submit their recommendations for homelessness improvement to the city by the end of March 2020.

Eight months later, News 13 learned in city emails through the Freedom of Information Act that no members have formally been appointed to the task force.

The city says although an official group has yet to be made, efforts to help those in need have never ceased.

“The work is still occurring whether this new task force exists or not. The idea was to pull all the resources, again, together as part of this new task force, but they’re already talking, communicating, assisting and providing that genuine help that we would like to be able to provide,” said city spokesperson Mark Kruea.

New Directions is a homeless shelter that has worked closely with the city since it opened in 2016.

“I don’t have an issue in the world picking up the phone and calling someone at the city if I run into an issue that I need some help with,” said executive director Kathy Jenkins.

Since the resolution was announced, informal meetings have taken place between city council members, New Directions, ECHO, and Grand Strand Medical Center.

“We want to take it to the next level and that’s where the idea of the task force, among the existing agencies that we helped create in many cases, grew out of,” said Kruea.

City emails show that task force nominations have been submitted, however no members have been appointed.

“The conversations have been occurring. We just haven’t made the appointments yet. We’ve talked about who to appoint to these positions. Council just needs to sit down and say these are the people we want to appoint,” said Kruea.

Kruea says efforts to create the homeless task force has not cost tax payers any money.

With or without a title the informal task force says they are working to end homelessness.

“I think sometimes people get focused on one certain thing. One certain idea and if they don’t see that one certain thing happening they think nothing’s happening,” said Jenkins.

The city says the next step for the task force is for nominated members to be appointed at a city council meeting. The appointments are not yet listed on the next council agenda.

New Directions says they are working on expanding their shelters and looks forward to working with the task force.

“We have an incredibly supportive city,” said Jenkins.

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