The City of Charleston’s Hope Center, the one-stop resource center that opened in June to serve the community’s homeless population, is getting a new building.
It will be located on the peninsula in Wagener Terrace thanks to a fundraising campaign spearheaded by the Mayors’ Commission on Homelessness. It is projected to open in late 2023 or early 2024.
“Seeing where the Hope Center started, I am excited about what the future looks like for us,” said LaTosha Jenkins-Fludd, the Hope Center’s director. “I’m excited that Mayor [John] Tecklenburg, the Mayors’ Commission, our service providers and our community partners continue to support us. This is a very large undertaking, and we could not be as successful as we have been without help.”
The Hope Center’s fundraising campaign is a collaborative effort between Tecklenburg, Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey as part of the Mayors’ Commission on Homelessness. The campaign has raised about $4.6 million of its $7 million goal over the past year. To donate, visit homelesstohopefund.org.
“The Hope Center is a wonderful opportunity to provide service opportunities to the most vulnerable residents and the unsheltered in our community,” said Geona Shaw Johnson, director of the City of Charleston housing and community development department. “These services will lend to increasing self-sufficiency and hope [for the people] and households who need it the most.”
Helping the homeless
The Hope Center offers health care, housing and financial resources to the chronically homeless as well housed individuals and families who are facing instability. Fludd said the center has seen a recent increase in housed individuals who need rent and utility assistance, as well as seniors who have lost their homes.
She said the new building at 9 Cunnington Ave. will be easily accessible to a major CARTA bus line, which means more people in need can access Hope Center services.
“From our June opening up until the present, we have assisted around 170 people,” Fludd told the City Paper. “Needs vary from showers, clean sets of clothes, hygiene kits, hot meals, government cell phones and Medicaid and Medicare enrollment.”
The Hope Center has also connected individuals with its community partners such as the Humanities Foundation, Palmetto Community Action Partnership, Trident United Way and the Palmetto Project, Fludd said.
“We focus the majority of our time meeting the key needs of our clients,” Fludd said. “There are tons of other organizations that all do wonderful work related to homelessness, but I think one thing that sets the Hope Center apart is there isn’t anyone that we turn away. You can come from Charleston, Berkeley or Dorchester county — you can have just moved to Charleston and your living arrangement fell apart — and if you come to the center, we’re going to do our best to get you the assistance that you need.”
All of the amenities at the current Meeting Street location of the Hope Center will be available at the new building on Cunnington Avenue, including a clothing closet, food pantry, showers, laundry service and community garden.
“We plan to increase the number of people that we serve after the move, and all the services that we are currently offering will all transfer to our new location,” Fludd said.
The Hope Center is currently located at 529 Meeting St. and open Monday to Wednesday
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to noon.
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