New Directions partnership with local judge creates new resources for the homeless in Horry County

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – New Directions of Horry County and Myrtle Beach Municipal Chief Judge Jennifer Wilson partnered to create a homeless court to help the homeless in Horry County get back on their feet.

Since the court program’s creation, it’s helped to bring more new resources to help New Directions with the steady influx of homeless people into their shelter, like Saturday’s fashion show.

“It’s really an exciting thing,” New Directions Executive Director Kathy Jenkins smiles when she talks about Saturday’s fashion show, Compassion through Fashion.

Chief Judge Jennifer Wilson is going to be a model.

“She was just really excited about what we had done, and about how much fun she’d had, and I said, so, does this mean you might consider being a model next year,” said Jenkins.

Judge Wilson is elated, because the Compassion through Fashion show is an opportunity for her to combat homelessness outside of the courtroom.

“It means everything to me,” said Judge Wilson.

The partnership between the Judge and New Directions began when they launched a new homeless court in 2019.

“As a judge, I’m limited in what I can do with a person who comes before me with criminal charges, and they often times, and most times, if they’re homeless they don’t have the money to pay a fine, and putting them in jail over and over does not really, you know, help the person,” said Judge Wilson.

Since then, it’s domino-ed into new resources like the fashion show to raise money for New Directions, ramping up their transportation initiative with Coastal Carolina University and helping with mental health of the homeless.

“The idea of being able to divert the charges out of court to address the underlying issues of homelessness, it’s very appealing to me,” Judge Wilson said.

In 2019, 1,037 men, women, families with children and veterans were sheltered at New Directions.

“We had a great year of providing new resources that were very well needed in helping our clients overcome their barriers and getting back on their feet,” said Jenkins.

Tickets for the Compassion through Fashion show can be bought at helpnewdirections.org. The show is Saturday, March 14 at The Hall at Saint John’s in Myrtle Beach at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $50 and include the show, a silent auction, food, beer, wine and the signature drink is a blue drink, called “On the Rumway”.

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