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Transitional house for homeless women to shut down, underscoring need for resources

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 4:15 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A program that relies on houses to provide transitional living spaces is about to lose its flagship location, prompting concerns about where those women in need will go next.

Walking Women Welfare helps women experiencing homelessness turn their lives around by placing clients in transitional housing where they get help finding jobs and treatment for medical issues, including addiction. WWW uses donated three or four-bedroom houses scattered around the Lowcountry as transitional homes.

While the clients are in the homes, they’re expected to keep them clean and even pay rent as they make their way to graduating out of the program. The program does not get any government assistance, instead relying on volunteers.

Recently the owner of one of the homes has decided to move back in, forcing WWW to lose that space.

“That was actually our flagship house, the first house that we opened. Since that time, we have opened three more,” Pastor Alfrieda Deas said. “However, losing any beds is a dilemma for women who don’t have anywhere to go. Six people being displaced is a big deal to us.”

Deas started WWW and says they’re a small organization and the need is too great for them alone.

“My Sister’s House is in overflow. I just got about five calls today seeking housing,” Deas said. “Women are at the mercy of organizations like ours and the community to give them a safe haven, not a shelter. It’s our goal to give them a space where they can grow, learn budgeting skills, learn cleanliness, get a job and sign up for the medical and mental health care that they need.”

Losing the house is a blow to the fledgling nonprofit that has been working hard to expand its capacity in an area of need that has been largely ignored by governments.

“We meet regularly with the City of Charleston, North Charleston . . . there’s a lot of talk about what can be done in two or three years down the line but what about right now. What about the women walking the street right now,” Deas said. “We need doors open right now.”

They have until May 15 to find a new place, or the women will once again be homeless.

“At this moment, I don’t know where they’re going. Our youngest is 23. Our oldest has medical problems and no family to take them in,” Deas said. “That’s why I am reaching out to the community to see if some landlord, some homeowner has a three to four-bedroom home that they would offer to us. We don’t want it for free, we pay a lease.”

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