TW: discussions of homelessness, poverty, and addiction
When you open the New Directions website, “Together, Hope Starts Here” is presented on the first page. Unfortunately, not everyone is familiar with this organization. New Directions is a shelter for unhoused people located in Myrtle Beach to serve Horry County. The organization has sublocations including New Directions for Men, New Directions for Women, New Directions for Families with Children, and Snug Harbor Transitional Living Facility for Women. The shelter provides several services for incoming clients.
The shelter has an emergency shelter program called “Pathways”, which is a three-step program. According to New Directions, Pathways is intended to not only fight homelessness but as well as poverty and addiction. Phase One is referred to as “Beginnings.” In the Beginnings phase, clients are expected to address the issues that may have caused their homelessness, poverty, or addiction. They are also put in lessons on “how to live again” through classes, peer-led groups, or both. Classes are held by staff and partner agencies, whereas peer-led groups are held by peer support specialists. The peer-led groups are marketed as welcoming spaces to promote recovery of any kind. Phase Two, “Journey,” is when clients begin to reenter the workforce. All clients work with case managers to guide them through the process, and once a source of income is secured, bank accounts are made for the clients. Another important part of Phase Two is the encouragement of creating bonds with people outside of New Directions. Phase Three is “Departure,” which is initiated after clients held a stable job for at least one month during the Journey Phase. Departure focuses on two options for clients. They can work with case managers to find stable housing, or they can work with peer-support specialists to find placement in transitional housing or a recovery house. Once clients reach these phases, they are considered Alumni. As Alumni, they may become mentors for the Pathways program which may entail working in support groups or household chores. New Directions prides itself on the fact that Alumni do not just leave with a job or housing arrangement, but also with a positive outcome relating to their reason for arriving at the shelter and a “toolkit” of resources to maintain their new lifestyles.
New Directions also offers another emergency shelter program called “Essentials” which is less transitional than Pathways. In the Essentials program, bed, meals, showers, and other basic life necessities. Essentials is a first-come, first-serve program. Other programs, include Code Blue care, community dinners, and transportation. During Code Blue, anyone in Horry County can go to the shelter. They will open beyond their bed capacities to provide a safe space during extreme weather conditions. Code Blue included events such as hurricanes and tropical storms, as well as heat advisories or below freezing temperatures. Hot community dinners are available daily from 6:30-7:00 pm in the Men’s Shelter parking lot and are available to everyone whether they are a New Directions client or not. Transportation assistance is available for people whose best case of escaping homelessness is to be with family or another support system. Transportation assistance is noted to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Her Campus at Coastal Carolina has been holding fundraisers through campus tabling and social media marketing to raise money for New Directions. In honor of National Women’s History Month, we opted to raise money for New Directions for Women, not only because of the great work they do but to support a local organization that aims to help women and anyone else in need. If you would like to donate, you can Venmo @KaitlinSerad or reach out to a Her Campus at Coastal Carolina member for other ways to donate.