It’s been more than four years since a women’s shelter operated in town. On June 10, the doors to Hope’s House will officially open to Summerville’s homeless women.
Officials with Dorchester County Community Outreach, the nonprofit organization over the new facility, said Tuesday they have finished hiring all staff members for the home located at 700 Central Avenue, the former site of Ju Ju’s Gourmet catering business.
Staff includes a house manager and two shift supervisors, one of which will start on opening day, according to Marty Thomas, board chair with DCCO.
“The house is fully ready to go,” he said. “We’re just waiting for that third staff person to come on board.”
The board also expects to add a large number of volunteers to the house list. The last several months volunteers and contractors have transformed the facility into a cozier residential site.
Shelter officials said Hope’s House will initially house two to three women, to see if any kinks need to be worked out, before lodging up to eight women. While the home is capable of housing nine residents, eight is a more comfortable number, said DCCO board members.
And bedrooms aren’t expected to stay empty long. Thomas said staff is already receiving several calls a day and referrals from Hope of Home, the men’s homeless shelter. The nonprofit has operated the men’s shelter, also on Central Avenue, since 2015 and daily received calls and knocks on the door from women looking for a place to eat, shower and do laundry. Home of Hope staff members have allowed women inside but not to lodge overnight.
“Word of mouth is already out there,” Thomas said. “(We’re) not going to have a problem filling it.”
Children will not be permitted to lodge at Hope’s House; however, DCCO officials said it might be a possibility in the future.
Summerville has lacked a women’s shelter since 2015, when One80 Place shut the doors on its local facility for women and children. One80 Place officials at the time cited maintenance work and related expenses as the reason behind the decision.