Plans to consolidate and coordinate Myrtle Beach agencies that work to help needy people have moved forward with the creation of one new organization that will open a domestic violence facility next week, according to organizers of the effort.
The Center for Women and Children, Street Reach Ministries, and Life Line, the domestic violence agency that replaced Citizens Against Spouse Abuse, are combining resources to form one operating board – New Directions – that will work under one 501c3, said Mary Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat has facilitated meetings among service providers, local government, churches and others in accordance with a fall 2011 City Council resolution.
“No one else is doing this because it’s hard,” Jeffcoat told council members during a Tuesday morning workshop.
Mary Jo Rogers, New Directions board chairwoman and senior vice president at South Atlantic Bank, told council Tuesday that New Directions will provide emergency overnight services, much like Street Reach; housing for women and children, much like CWC; and a domestic violence shelter.
Members of CWC recently voted to dissolve their board of directors, and Street Reach plans to do the same this fall, according Jeffcoat. CASA shut down last summer amid allegations of embezzlement, and Life Line is slated to open April 14.
Last fall the CWC took responsibility of operating a domestic violence shelter, and the city allocated $50,000 in September for that effort. The organization planned to open in October, but Jeffcoat said it took longer than expected to secure the lease and complete repairs.
The newly appointed New Directions board of directors will meet Wednesday morning to finalize its operating budget, which was proposed at $679,000. That figure was calculated based on last year’s budgets for the three organizations, with those funds coming from the city, grants and other sources, Jeffcoat said. She said the figure is $400,000 less than the three agencies would have spent had they continued to operate separately.
“That $400,000 is based on savings from CASA’s budget,” she said.
Mayor John Rhodes said he felt the point of working to combine the agencies is cut duplication of services and save money.
“The idea is that if [the organization] starts to expands services they won’t have to reach into the till, they’ll have more money in there,” he said.
In December, Helping Hand of Myrtle Beach became the central processing location for any needy person seeking help in the city. City Council allocated $15,000 to fund half of the salary of the staff member who would enter those seeking help into the CharityTracker system.
Jeffcoat said the work to consolidate services began when the city held a meeting in fall 2011 that invited about 60 organizations that all worked to help needy people in Myrtle Beach.
Jeffcoat said the Homeless Coalition Steering Committee, of which she is a part, is going to invite those groups to a meeting April 24, to encourage all of them to use the CharityTracker system as well as coordinate with New Directions.
Jeffcoat said the steering committee will continue to take steps to consolidate resources and work to curb homelessness in the city.
“We want to get to the point where you don’t define success by how many people you help,” Jeffcoat told the council. “The question will be how many people came into your door that don’t have to come into your door again? ... The goal is to move people off the cycle of dependency.”