YORK, S.C. — The only shelter for men in York, South Carolina will open by the end of the year, providing a bed for 16 men.
Tender Hearts Ministries, which already operates a shelter for women and children, will operate this one as well.
Ainslee Moss, the ministry's founder, said homelessness may not be as visible in smaller towns as it is in bigger cities, but the problem is still there.
“It is a small town but if you drive around some of the areas, you will see tents in the woods," said Moss. "If you drive around at nighttime, you will see cars at Wal-Mart and families sleeping in their cars.”
According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), In 2020, an estimated 9,280 people faced homelessness in North Carolina on any given day. In South Carolina, 4,172 people were homeless.
On any given night in 2020, more than half a million people were without a home, according to the USICH. There was also a steady increase in homelessness in the last four consecutive years.
Moss is seeking solutions to the problem.
"There is a true need," said Moss, "It has become more because of the COVID."
Moss founded Tender Hearts Ministries in 2004. The nonprofit has since turned into a major operation, running several thrift stores, a distribution center, a pantry, and a shelter for women and children.
The shelters are not emergency shelters. Instead, they're part of a nine-month program that helps people not only with housing but with employment and counseling as well.
“A lot of times you find out that people are just one paycheck away from becoming homeless," said Moss, "or something happened, they didn’t think, they made a mistake.”
Tender Hearts Ministries funds its shelter and operations by selling at its thrift stores. You can also donate online.