Local organization helping Charleston’s homeless population during Coronavirus Pandemic

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Starting today, the City of Charleston is now under a stay-at-home ordinance for the next 2 weeks. However, thousands of individuals in the Lowcountry don’t have a home to go to.

In the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the homeless population is left vulnerable. Local organizations that typically aid these individuals are already feeling the strain.

Marie Roland is the Executive Director of The Navigation Center in Downtown Charleston. Despite concerns of the virus, she has continued to provide hot meals 5 days a week.

“These folks have nowhere to go,” says Roland, “They count on coming here, that whole population knows they can come here and eat. I want to continue that for them.”

While the dinners will remain Tuesday-Sunday from 5:00-6:00 P.M., The Navigation Center has halted all other services that they provide.

The organization doesn’t consider themselves a “shelter.” They offer what Roland describes as “tough love,” with resources that help individuals at-risk or currently homeless.

“What we learned is there was definitely a gap of services that wasn’t being met. Because nobody ever thinks about this: if you can’t get in with a shelter, what’s your next step? What do you do?,” asks Roland.

Their biggest goal is to not only get people off the streets, but keep them off the streets. Whether it be mental health counseling, employment, housing, veteran services, computer lab use or even just having a place to shower and do laundry.

However, at this point in time, she’s realized that their priority is to keep their clients fed and healthy.

“Until we can just take 1 day at a time, that’s all we can do. Because every night, every day it’s tough, you know. Whether or not-why am I doing this? But, God helps me. He gives me people like that…keep me going,” says Roland.

Roland says that she’s already so grateful for the community’s donations and the city’s support. Moving forward, any and all donations; time, monetary, food, water, etc. are welcome and appreciated. For details on how to get in touch with The Navigation Center, click here.