Greenville shelter expansion to offer housing for 30 more people

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – A homeless shelter in Greenville is working on a new building. The pandemic along with the housing crisis have forced them to need more space, but it hasn’t been an easy road to get to this point.

WITN talked to shelter leaders and people who use their services about what this will mean for them.

What’s now a pile of rubble at the corner of Manhattan Avenue and Chestnut Street in Greenville will soon be the site of a brand-new building to serve the homeless. It’s right next door to the Community Crossroads Center and used to be an extra space for them, but Executive Director Charles Young says the 98-year-old structure got too difficult to keep up.

“We’d been planning to replace that building for several years because of disrepair,” he explained.

The past few years have emphasized the need for more room – for people with Covid-19 to quarantine and because of the rising cost of housing. “We’re averaging close to 60 people a night here,” he said. At the height of the pandemic, that number was closer to 90.

Offering everything from career services to a place to simply cool off – it’s a necessity for people like Denver Hamilton.

“This has helped me out of a bind more than a few times,” said Hamilton. He’s been living out of his car while trying to get on his feet. “I’ve been here to the shelter before in the past. It has its ups and downs but it’s a place to get a hot shower and bath and warm food, and if you’re outside, just those little things right there, they mean the world to you.”

Once this project is done, what is now office space next door, will house family rooms instead.

“This additional building will allow us to house at least 25, 30 more people,” Young explained.

Adding 15,000 square feet of space is pricey. Young says he’s doing it with the help of city and county money, plus donations, but he’s still in the process of advocating for more. He feels it’s worth it though, for people like Hamilton and so many others.

“Everybody goes through it, you know, I don’t care who you are, everybody’s had bad times and everybody’s had to rebuild in their life,” Hamilton said. “Stuff like this is essential to the community.”

That project should be done in about a year.

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