HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Family Justice Center of Horry and Georgetown Counties was awarded $1.5 million from state lawmakers on Wednesday.
Rep. Heather Ammons-Crawford, Sen. Luke Rankin, and Sen. Greg Hembree have been pushing for funding for a domestic-violence shelter in Horry County. Currently, the only one in the area is in Georgetown County.
Lawmakers said a new shelter would bring hope to a growing community in need of support.
“We have a $1.5 million check from the state of South Carolina to help you with that center,” Ammons-Crawford said as she presented the check to Kim Parsons, the executive director of the Family Justice Center.
“The dark side of life, you all are bringing light to,” Rankin said.
“We’re so excited just about the fact that there’s going to be a shelter here because it’s so desperately needed,” said Parsons, who told News13, that there hasn’t been a shelter in Horry County since 2013.
An increase in domestic violence cases is forcing victims to seek shelter in Georgetown County.
“Our clients who are here in Horry County oftentimes don’t have — and I’m saying luxury and I’m using that word — but have the luxury of having a very safe and secure place to go,” Parsons said.
Jo-Ann Trujillo and Laura Koluch are the only two case managers for the center serving Horry County. “When they do leave their homeless and we have nowhere for them to go so that’s been quite a challenge,” Koluch said.
They said building a shelter in Horry County will allow for more staff and save money that’s often used when the Georgetown shelter is full.
“The money that we spend putting people in hotels can go to people paying their bills, rent, you know, food,” Trujillo said.
The new shelter will have 18 beds, which is double the space of the Georgetown location. Parsons said the money will only help build and furnish the new shelter. She said she hopes local municipalities will help keep it up and running.
“What’s going to be so critical is receiving that ongoing funding so that we can keep it staffed, so that we can pay the bills and keep the lights on,” Parsons said.
Construction of the new shelter is expected to take about a year to complete. In the meantime, the Family Justice Center is accepting donations in preparation for the opening.