The North Strand Housing Shelter is rebuilding the wiring, insulation and some structural components after a fire displaced 10 people more than two weeks ago.
An electrical shortage in the fan/light combination in a bathroom caused a small fire which smoldered part of the shelter, said Dana Black, executive director.
“We’ve got people sleeping on the floors of businesses and in sleeping bags in homes,” Black said. “It’s going to take a couple of weeks to get the shelter back up.”
Black said a few families have taken in some people from the shelter, including a family of four. Since nobody knows exactly when the shelter will reopen, Black said the compassion of those families is extraordinary.
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“Our community continues to amaze me,” Black said.
George McCarthy, who was living in the shelter before the small fire, has been working with Hanco Construction to repair the wiring and insulation. He had been living in the shelter for about three months before the blaze, and heard about the fire while eating with a friend.
“It wasn't a big fire, it was just an electrical fire,” McCarthy said. “But it affects a group of people, so we want to move it along as fast as we can.”
North Strand is awaiting an insurance claim to figure out how much they’ll have to spend on repairs, but said insurance will cover some of the damage. However, they’ll need future volunteers to spruce up the burned furniture and repaint walls, Black said.
The county must also inspect the building before tenants can move back in, since electrical wiring and structure repairs were made, Black said. McCarthy is already looking for a permanent place to live, but wants everyone to know how helpful North Strand Housing Shelter is to those who are just trying to get back on their feet.
“The shelter is like a house or a home, more than an institutionalized place,” McCarthy said. “They give you an opportunity to get your life back together instead of just getting you through the day every day.
“North Strand really helped me, and I want to encourage people to take advantage of that service,” he said. “It's not easy to think coherently when you're constantly worried.”
To find out how to help the shelter, located on S.C. 9 in Longs, visit their website at www.northstrandhousingshelter.org. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 529, North Myrtle Beach, 29597.