LACANCASTER, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) Lancaster County and City leaders are coming together to find shelter for the community’s homeless population. Over the years the city has never had a permanent shelter location, but only warming shelters.
Sadly, the United Way of Lancaster’s warming shelter has been closed for the last two winter seasons because of funding.
It’s an issue this city leaders say can go unseen and as the seasons continue to change, the City of Lancaster’s leaders are looking for safe shelter for the homeless.
“You know we have a sect of homeless folks that pretty much camp out around the bypass and stuff like that, they live in tents, if you saw them you probably wouldn’t even realize that they are homeless. They don’t present themselves in any particular way,” says Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant.
Lancaster’s police chief says that the city is homeless population it’s actually relatively small, only consisting of about 50 people and he says because of the lack of resources many homeless could be found in an area like the one you see behind me setting up for the night.
“Since were blessed with a low number of homeless, then we ought to be able to do some thing for them. That’s the frustrating part is that we haven’t been able to use as a community to figure out some thing to make a difference,” says Chief Grant.
The police made several post on social media calling the community to action. There’s one man he says has become a well known figure who he was moved to help.
“You know Mr. George kind of became a figure in the downtown area. He received a lot of help from a lot of people you know he had honestly more food brought to them then he can eat. But they are we were, when it’s 30 degrees at night he’s out there by himself and that’s the part that concern me,” says Chief Grant.
Chief Grant is working with area leaders and non-profit organizations like the United Way of Lancaster.
United Way of Lancaster’s Executive Director, Amber Jackson, says, “I feel like if we can find a location, that would be the answer to a lot of our problems but now it doesn’t stop there. They need for volunteers is still there, they need for people to stay overnight at our shelters is still there, the need for meals and transportation.”
“I’ve been with some of those police officers that have to go uncover and you know people that are frozen to death, I’ve been there I’ve done that here,” says Chief Grant. “I pulled people out of abandon houses here that are frozen to death. And I just think we’re better than that, I think we can provide you know a resource that can you know stop that from being somebody’s future.”
In the video above, CN2’s Rachel Richardson is speaking with leaders about their plans to keep the homeless out of the cold this winter.