Read the latest News covering, Greenwood Pathway House
12/13/2012 12:13:00 AM
Pathway House will provide direction
Until Wednesday, there was not much of a winter atmosphere in the Greenwood area. Snowflakes affixed to street lights would not be able to give way to real snowflakes as temperatures remained unseasonably high.
But winter is coming, and with it the cooler weather. While most of us will be able to retreat to the warmer confines of our homes, many around Greenwood do not have the same luxury.
Thanks to the vision of several people who have long recognized homeless people do, in fact, exist in this city, something is being done about it. St. Mark United Methodist and Main Street United Methodist churches have partnered with hundreds of volunteers, including some from various other churches, to provide men, women and children shelter from cold temperatures. This has been an ongoing project for several years now.
While this effort has tremendous and certainly beneficial to the homeless population, it is not a complete and long-term solution.
Enter Greenwood Pathway House, a continuation of the effort to address a need in a more efficient manner. Because of a partnership formed between Pathway House and Abney Memorial Baptist Church, off Panola Avenue, a new 40-bed facility is expected to open by January and serve as a shelter for men.
Those involved point to this coming together as being providential. It is hard to argue. Abney was considering building on a new site; Pathway has been eyeing ways to establish a more permanent shelter to address the homeless need. The church’s current social hall is being transformed into the 40-bed shelter. Pathway already owns nearby property, representing the first phase of what will be a permanent homeless shelter properly centered where it will meet the need more easily and efficiently.
Many people would prefer to ignore the homeless, bus them away or wish them away. And for years, many did just that; however, the homeless situation is no longer being ignored. Instead, it is being addressed head-on and in a compassionate manner.
One of the driving forces behind the effort is Dr. Jack Parham, who serves as Pathway’s board president. His long-range vision is a homeless campus, complete with a church, separate facilities for men, women and children, a playground, pet kennel and even a garden.
Greenwood Pathway House is not just a name; it’s a plan, a long-term plan that will do more than temporarily meet the needs of the less fortunate. Think of the possibilities. The campus Parham speaks of will do more than provide a temporary bed, hot meal and a break from the weather. It will help people get on the right pathway to a new life and not just be a stopping off point in a life with no hope.
Helping the less fortunate
Homeless shelter looks to become permanent fixture
By ST. CLAIRE DONAGHY
The community is steps closer to eventually having a permanent homeless shelter as Greenwood Pathway House is readied to be an emergency cold-weather shelter for men.
Plans are for the shelter to be open in January, if not earlier, according to Dr. Jack Parham, board president of Greenwood Pathway House.
The planned 40-bed facility, off Panola Avenue in Greenwood, is the current social hall of Abney Memorial Baptist Church.
The church entered into partnership with Greenwood Pathway House, according to Mark Riddle, a member of Abney Memorial’s congregation.
“We have been considering building on a new site,” Riddle said. “With this agreement, we don’t have to be in a hurry to move. We have three years. God has a plan, a plan for Greenwood Pathway House and a plan for Abney Memorial. It’s a great opportunity for us too, from a ministry standpoint, to be involved with helping the homeless.”
Riddle said the church has been in its present location since the early 1950s and the social hall dates to the 1970s.
Parham, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist and former Hospice medical director, describes the agreement with Abney Memorial as “a most wonderful partnership.”
Parham said one of his earliest experiences with the homeless was on a church mission trip to Buffalo, N.Y., some years ago.
“Things have changed in the past 20 years, and the homeless are not just in large cities,” Parham said. “When you talk to some of these guys, you learn a lot and realize they are somebody’s child, somebody’s brother, or a mother who has been sleeping in her car with her three children. Why don’t we do our part so they don’t have to be out in the cold?”
Greenwood Pathway House currently owns a tract of land on which the first phase of the homeless shelter project is started. Renovations of the social hall facility are under way, so that it meets current building and safety codes for a shelter.
“We and Abney Memorial Baptist are in this together, and both the church and Greenwood Pathway House may continue to use this property and facility for events, so long as events don’t overlap,” Parham said. “We are in an agreement with the church over the next three years, which gives the church time to build a new building and not interrupt any of their services.”
Additional adjacent acreage might also be available down the road, should the Lakelands Baptist Association on Panola Avenue relocate as well, Parham said.
1/28/2012 10:54:00 AM
Helping the Homeless
New 40-bed emergency shelter to open in Greenwood.
Brian King, Staff Writer
GREENWOOD, SC – Many people in Greenwood do not consider homelessness a problem in their hometown. With images flooding television screens of people stepping over and around the homeless while walking down the street, people living under bridges and people gathered around a fire in a 55-gallon drum in a dark side alley, it is not hard to see why residents of Greenwood are unaware of this rapidly growing problem right here at home. Pathway House, a new nondenominational emergency shelter, hopes to step in and begin alleviating the problem before it reaches the large scale seen in many of America’s larger cities.
Pathway House started as a vision of some people in the community back in 2009. Many of those people were behind what is now known as the United Center for Community Care, or UC3. Those people, most of which are now on the board of the Pathway House, began putting together plans for an emergency shelter, led by community visionary Dr. Jack Parham. In 2010, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, with the help of about 170 volunteers, opened a temporary shelter at their campus on Rivers Street. Initially, the shelter would only open when the temperature dropped below 32°, but it began opening when the temperature dropped below 40° in February 2011. During the winter of 2011-2012, St. Mark’s experienced a 240% increase in the use of the shelter over 2010-2011.
Pathway House has secured non-profit status and is now launching a major capital campaign to fund the construction and operation of a more permanent shelter for Greenwood County. Pathway House currently has plans for a 40-bed facility. The group has already purchased a portion of Abney Memorial Church and has plans to purchase the remainder of the facility once the church moves to their new location.
Currently, St. Mark’s is providing emergency shelter for men and Main Street United Methodist Church is providing emergency shelter for women. Both facilities, along with the new one, will open when the temperature is anticipated to drop below 40°.
The Greenwood Pathway House will be wrapping Christmas gifts in December to raise money for the shelter. Times and places are to the right.
For more information about Greenwood Pathway House call Cassy Funderburk at (864) 980-6117.