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      Homeless grandmother and grandsons get a home

      Violet Hatcher of Bennettsville is still settling into her new apartment. The three bedroom place is a dream come true for Hatcher and her four grandsons ages 10, 8, 6 and 4.

      "I was just so overwhelmed, I just cried and praised the Lord for about three hours. My throat is still sore," said Hatcher.

      She is emotional because for the last month she and her four grandsons have been living in a motel. She became homeless after falling on hard times. She lost her job in the restaurant business, and unemployment and food stamps weren't enough to make ends meet.

      Hatcher says every day was a struggle. She scrounged up the $50 a night from family and friends just to stay at the motel.

      Hatcher said, "The last week I was there, I was actually struggling with how I was gone pay the rent, the room and feed them too. So, I get, you know, concentrate, you know, on get the room paid and I'd make sure I had food for them when they got out of school."

      She knew she couldn't go on living that way.

      Someone referred Hatcher to the Marlboro County Community Development Corporation (CDC).

      She says her life changed when she walked through their doors.

      "I was asking only for one night help paying for the motel room and I got years of help."

      Through a federal grant for the homeless, the CDC got Hatcher an apartment and will pay the rent and utilities for one year. The grant also provides furniture and clothing for the Hatcher family.

      The organization applied for the grant last year.

      "A lot of times, we're not aware of the fact of the homeless because, as you say, some of them you might have three or four generations living in one household or some a just not documented as in large metropolitan areas," said Keith Brewington, Marlboro County CDC.

      The grant totals about $70,000 for two years. Officials say they can only help four families with the money and they've reached their limit. They plan to apply again in another year for more money.

      The CDC's generosity is more than Hatcher could have imagined.

      "The boys love it. Every day they been out in the yard playing football," said Hatcher.

      Hatcher says she can now rest easy in her new apartment and concentrate on finding a job.