Staff at New Beginnings Transitional Shelter in Wallace had a vision for the clients there — to make sure they felt like they were home and not in a shelter.
With a mobile unit donation from Marlboro County School District and help from various volunteers and partners, staff moved into their resident services building earlier this month.
"We have our space," said Shelter Services Coordinator Janice Hamlin. "They have their space. They can move around the house without all of our business taking place in the office."
Hamlin along with Janice Rozier, vice-chair of Pee Dee Coalition regional board and chairman of the Marlboro County Pee Dee Coalition Board, and Christy Moore, volunteer coordinator, shared an update about the shelter with school district officials at the December Board of Education Meeting.
A few years ago, the district donated one of their mobile units from Bennettsville Intermediate School to be put on the site at New Beginnings.
Rozier said it has taken two years to get the money and volunteers to complete the project.
New Beginnings Transitional Shelter opened in June 2017. The shelter started as an emergency shelter in 2004.
Moore said once they were opened as an emergency shelter, they realized there was a need for a transitional shelter for former victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Victims can only stay 30-90 days in an emergency shelter.
At New Beginnings, former victims can stay up to 24 months with on-site services.
The person has either become homeless due to domestic violence or they might be staying with family or friends.
Services provided include information and referral; individual and group counseling; personal advocacy; life skills training; parenting groups; transportation; resource procurement assistance; case management; access to computers and the internet; and services for the children of clients such as school enrollment and homework support.
Moore said as the shelter continues to grow, they had the opportunity to increase the number of women and children served by relocating staff from the house to the modular building. The offices in the house were converted to two additional bedrooms that will sleep 14 additional bed spaces. Those two bedrooms will increase bed space from 26 to 40 plus. This is not including babies in cribs. This will allow even more victims to be served.
New Beginnings has served over 110 women and children with 16,443 nights of shelter.
Moore said the shelter has had to turn away 78 women and children due to limited space.
"This partnership shows that together we can promote a community that values the basic human desire to be free of the physical, threat and harm," she said. "And through these efforts, we can make the Pee Dee Region a safer more compassionate community."
A brief video of the project was shown from when the mobile unit was moved on March 6, 2019, to the present.
Hamlin said it was very important for district officials to see this project come to fruition.
She thanked Moore for her hard work.
"She worked endless hours from beginning to end to make this happen," Hamlin said. "She brought this vision to fruition so the women could feel like they are in a home, not just shelter. This would have never happened without her. I also want to thank Janet Rozier for all the work done."
Hamlin said the donation meant a lot to the shelter and to her being a survivor of domestic violence.
"I know what it is like to live in a shelter," she said.
Rozier, Moore, and Hamlin presented Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord with a rendering of the new resident services building on the grounds of the New Beginnings Transitional Shelter.