Search for new home for church group leads to plans for homeless shelter

An organization that helps the poor and homeless in Conway needs to find a new home of its own.

Churches Assisting People, or CAP, has been told it has one year to move out of the building it has used for the past 12 years.

CAP director Gail Steinfield says she's grateful to the DEW Foundation, which owns the building and has allowed CAP to use it for free. Now the foundation wants to do something different with it.

Steinfield says CAP has outgrown the 3,000 square foot building anyway.

CAP provides emergency food and other assistance to families in need, but it doesn't have a homeless shelter.

Steinfield says there are no shelters in Conway.

CAP would like to create a social service mall and shelter that could be used by various agencies, including the Salvation Army and the Horry County Council on Aging.

Steinfield says that's a big goal, but not a pipe dream.

"We probably need between a million and a million and a half dollars. And I know that sounds like a lot and it is a lot but it can be done, if we work at it and we plan it properly," Steinfield said.

Steinfield says food stamp benefits have been cut, food prices are going up and many people, especially the elderly, have a hard time getting by.

She says there's a lack of awareness about the problem of hunger and homelessness in Horry County.

"A lot of people don't understand that I think the statistic is one out of six children in Horry County does not have enough to eat. That's a lot."

CAP provides food for a thousand families or more each month, she says.

For their proposed social services mall, her group would like to find an existing 15,000 square foot building, or construct a new one from the ground up.

Steinfield says many people in Conway support the plan, including the police chief and the mayor.

They may not have money to contribute, but she says they have ideas and are willing to work together to make it happen.

For information on how you can help CAP, click here .