Lowcountry nonprofit pushes for change to end homelessness

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:51 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:38 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The founder of a Charleston-area nonprofit determined to end homelessness says while he has seen an increase in the community’s involvement, he can’t say the actual problem has gotten any better.

Aaron Comstock, who founded Uplift Charleston, says there will always be people in need and his group wants to help them.

“But we want to make sure that this is not something we’re doing 50 years down the road,” Comstock said, reflecting on the past year’s efforts. “There’s still homelessness, we’re still doing this, nothing has changed. We want to make change.”

While changes have been made and there have been successful efforts to help those who are without homes, including a gift and coat giveaway during the Christmas weekend, those efforts are a “band-aid on top of a much bigger problem,” he said.

One of the biggest issues he’d like solved is what he calls a lack of effort from city and county leaders across the Lowcountry.

“We are not hearing any agendas on city council meetings from Summerville on down that says ‘how can we help the homeless? Who can we contact?’” Comstock said. “What are some programs that we can install in our cities and local governments that we can make tackle homelessness?”

While handing out gifts this past holiday weekend, Comstock said he was told by many of his homeless friends they had been sent away from places like Summerville and North Charleston.

Displacement, Comstock said, is a big problem right now.

Comstock also said area warming shelters are at full capacity some nights, and there aren’t enough beds to accommodate the need. Obstacles like this, he said, only make it harder for “someone without a home to go on.”

“One guy even told me he was about to give up. We don’t want to hear that,” Comstock said.

Comstock said the City of Charleston does have a committee that works to help end homelessness, with the goal of doing so by 2023. Whether they can work throughout 2022 to meet this goal, Comstock said only time will tell.

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