NEWBERRY COUNTY — It can be hard to know where to turn when life throws a curve ball and a person ends up homeless or need emergency services, but in Newberry County there is assistance with the Newberry County Department of Social Services.
“When the homeless or a person in need needs help, DSS has resources for people,” said Pandora Jones, homeless liaison through Newberry DSS. “With the homeless, we make sure they can have food and can check for SNAP eligibility. Since it’s cold, we do offer to take them to a shelter or offer a blanket or coat.”
Jones said the nearest shelter is in Columbia and there is also a men’s shelter in Clinton. Newberry County does not have a shelter.
Jones said those who are not homeless but need financial assistance could receive help through DSS with some bills as long as the funds are available. The Manna House can provide food as long as a person is not receiving any other assistance.
DSS does have resources to get people what they need or to a safe place, she added.
Helping Hands, which specifically helps the homeless, is trying to raise money for a shelter in the county.
Jones said Helping Hands offers those needing it a stay in a hotel for a night if they do not want to go out of the county and need temporary shelter.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office also does what it can to help anyone officers might find on the street, Sheriff Lee Foster said.
Foster said deputies sometimes will find someone to take care of a homeless person or will call Columbia, Greenville or Spartanburg to get shelter for them, but it depends on the circumstances.
During last week’s cold spell, Foster said the Whitmire Fire Department and Central UMC. had plans to act as warming stations for those in need.
The Jan. 23 Point in Time count sponsored by the Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless will offer assistance after the surveys are turned in and verified in the beginning of February, Jones said. Last year’s count revealed 13 homeless people in the county.
Volunteers are needed, Jones said, adding that no volunteer goes out alone. Those wanting to help can contact Jones at DSS. Jones also encourages residents to let her know where people are camping out so they can be counted.
Visit www.schomeless.org or www.midlandshomeless.org for more information.