Community partners rally to support former Economy Inn residents

Since the Economy Inn was abruptly closed on Thursday, January 25th, many former residents of the Inn have been residing at Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church.  We owe a great debt of gratitude to Pastor Darian Blue and his members for sharing hospitality with these individuals so beautifully. Kudos as well to Executive Pastor, Brian Bowie, and to Tabitha Crawford, director of Single Parents in Need (SPIN), for providing case management and guidance during these challenging days. Vanessa Young coordinated many of the services provided, especially the invaluable access to transportation to and from new jobs.

The guests have relocated as of Friday, February 16th and, thanks to the generosity of the community, they are staying in safe, quality motel rooms and several have bus tickets so they can continue to get to and from work.

Going forward, each of the individuals has now received an entire month’s worth of lodging and meals, thanks to Nicholtown Missionary Baptist Church, Urban League of the Upstate, Meals on Wheels, and the generosity of various donors (including work clothing collected by United Housing Connections). Over $4,000 has been contributed to this effort through United Ministries, and I am aware of other donations and expenditures on behalf of the Economy Inn folks so that some of them could transition straight into housing.

Please take note of the article in the Greenville News highlighting the transition on Friday.

Lauren Stephens, Social Ministries Director with the Salvation Army, who is chairing the Emergency Response Team, and I are developing a list of learning points from this experience. Those will be shared among the members of Emergency Response Team that quickly mobilized to support the displaced residents and at the upcoming Planned Response Team gathering at NMBC at 2pm on March 1st (all are welcome).

In the meantime, we appreciate the commitments of the good Baptists in Nicholtown to ensure that their guests landed on their feet in circumstances largely better than those they experienced at the Economy Inn. While the outcome is not ideal, the entire situation has had unique challenges, and the guests themselves seem ready to move forward with their lives. These individuals now have an opportunity to progress in life toward securing income sufficient to sustain permanent housing. More importantly, they know that the people of Greenville care deeply for and about them…and that care has been personified by the mercy and grace of the good Missionary Baptists of Nicholtown. Thank you, Darian Blue, for taking the lead on this mission….

Going forward, our Emergency Response Team and Planned Response Team will guide us into better managing future crises—and, hopefully, preventing them from occurring to start with.

Thank you, one and all!

Tony McDade, Executive Director, United Ministries



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