Helping the homeless on the Grand Strand

Several groups along the Grand Strand are dedicated to giving assistance to the homeless.

This includes a volunteer group made up of staff from Mercy Care, Brightwater Retirement, and other local volunteers.

On Thursday, the group visited different homeless encampments around Myrtle Beach.

"We actually go into the encampments along the city here and give them water and stuff to get them through the hot summer," said Tom Badurski, a director of children's programs and special projects at Mercy Care.

There are around 850 homeless people in Horry County, 45 percent of them live in Myrtle Beach. These figures do not only include people who are living on the street, they also are comprised of people living in shelters.

The city recently spent more than $120,000 on a program called New Directions to help individuals break free from the cycle of homelessness.

Many city resources must also go toward the homeless, like law enforcement.

"If you were taking a daily average, there would be more than one homeless person that's processed through our jail or who police have to deal with on a daily basis," said Capt. David Knipes with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

"It takes the officers off the streets and looking for more serious crimes when we are having to deal with the same people over and over again, whether it be for public intoxication, shoplifting, or some other larceny," he said.

However, it raises the question: Do groups that help the homeless really help them get back on their feet again or do they make it easier for people to stay homeless?

When it comes to Badurski's group of volunteers, he believes his service isn't making it easier.

"I don't think it's easier. We do this only two times a year, so they can't rely on us to be able to live,"