CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The United Order of Tents is being ordered out of their building by the city.
Ann Blandin is the deputy of the Charleston district order. She and all the members of the secretive organization are all women and all black. Back in February the order was told their building was no longer safe to live in or meet in.
"When you don't have life in the building, it's going to go down and I think that was some of our problem. We're just getting older and couldn't keep up with going up and down and taking care of the building like we should," said Blandin.
Blandin said the group also lacked the funds to care for it. She says the tent moved into the Cannon street building in the early 50's, where the group followed their Christian mission to care for the sick, raise money for scholarships and hold Thanksgiving day programs. A history Blandin and other members are not ready to sell.
"That's our heritage, that's our roots, it's just a part of us and I think it's good for the city. To be an example to young people because there is a need for organizations like ours," said Blandin.
Blandin said the tents were given an estimate of $700,000 dollars to make the building stable again. She said the order doesn't have the money to board up the building but local preservation and historical society's have offered to pay it for them. Blandin and the tents want someone to invest in the building to keep it for community use. Other Cannon street neighbors agree.
"I would like to see this building refurbished and remain and have the women who are apart of this organization working with the preservation society to rebuild it," said Helen Kenny who lives near Cannon Street.