Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter not only serves as a safe haven for children and teens, but as a resource to help them develop and reach self-sufficiency.
According to the Palmetto Place website, the shelter provides a safe and nurturing environment for abused and neglected children and unaccompanied teens, offering them a broad range of services concentrating on personal healing and development. The shelter is open 24 hours each day of the year and provides medical and mental health care, crisis adjustment/transitional counseling, after-school tutoring and recreational and social activities in addition to food, clothing and shelter.
According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, 2010, on any given night, there are approximately 110,000 youth living on the streets, public places, cars or abandoned buildings, with half of those youth being between the age of 18 and 24 and half between the age of 12 and 17. Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter is currently addressing the needs of these children and teens through thoughtful programming.
The Foundation currently funds the Homeless Teen Program/Independent Living Skills Program at Palmetto Place. Three years ago this program was created to provide a home and support services for up to four unaccompanied youth. In addition to the opportunities the shelter provides all children, this program focuses on identifying transitional housing, education and employment.
The success of this program looks different for every teen involved because all participants enter at a different place in life. Due to the lack of parental financial support and shortage of affordable housing, many teens transitioning from homelessness or exiting from foster care are left with few options. Using a strengths-based approach, Palmetto Place works closely with teens to move them from poverty to stability through this program.
“A former resident in the Unaccompanied Youth program transitioned from living at Palmetto Place to a full-time college student on campus at Lander University. After three semesters at Lander, she transferred to University of South Carolina due to changing her major,” Director of Client Services, Jill Lawson, and Executive Director, Erin Hall, said.
She was unable to secure a dorm due to transferring in December and needed to secure housing off campus. Palmetto Place was able to assist her with the security deposit and first month’s rent from a previous grant. She now lives in an apartment community and is able to thrive academically while also working a part-time job.
Without this initial assistance, she would have been less stable and would not have been able to secure housing. Palmetto Place continues to check in with her and offer support such as resources and mentoring.”