CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - State Representative Wendell Gilliard is pushing for local, state and federal involvement in addressing homelessness in our communities.
Monday morning he visited one of the largest encampments downtown, know as Tent City, to spread the message. He believes the city's efforts are a good start, but not enough.
"Thirteen years ago, when I was on City Council, I already knew that through my research that homelessness was going to be an issue here in the state of South Carolina," says Gilliard.
Now he's hoping a resolution will get all levels of government involved.
"The state government does very little when it comes to homelessness as a whole, we ought to do more," he says.
City officials plan to clear Tent City in the next few weeks. It's all part of a recent plan to help residents find a place to live.
"I've seen a lot of other people actually get apartments rather than taking a tent and dragging it to another location," says Kimberly Grosiak.
Grosiak lived in Tent City for five years and now she has an apartment. Local churches and organizations are helping with housing options, but the problem is there's still not enough.
"There's no housing here to handle the onslaught of people who are now homeless, we have to be real about that," says Gilliard.
"Hopefully he's going to put a little pressure up in Columbia on the rest of the state...'hey you got the same problem, lets do something about it,'" says Mayor of Tent City, Jerry Totus.
Gilliard invited workers from the Department of Social Services to help residents apply for food benefits.
"The answer to homelessness is housing... and the only way you get that is all levels of government cooperating together," says Gilliard.
Grosiak says she feels blessed to now have an apartment.
"Don't stop, don't stop, keep the help coming until everyone is helped," she said.
Family to Family, a non-profit organization, was also at Tent City today. It's looking for supplies and volunteers to help refurbish homes for Tent City residents. For details you can reach the organization at 843-330-8609.