Chantay Brown

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Renew Our Community (known as the ROC), a nonprofit homeless shelter in Rock Hill, shut down its operations last month due to a lack of funding.

The ROC, which was founded by Dale Dove, opened its doors in 2011 as a center that assisted the homeless and others in York County gain access to shelter, clothing, food, training and spiritual support.

Over the years, the number of clients has grown tremendously from 10 a day to 125 a day, according to Iris Smalls-Hubbard, executive director of the ROC.

“We know the people that we service, we know them by name, they’re not numbers, we’re not an agency like that,” said Smalls-Hubbard, who was a guest on the Palmetto Report.

This faith-based organization received funding from churches and individuals.

Smalls-Hubbard said the ROC has grown, because the population of homeless people in York County has also grown to a number estimated to be around 500.

Ultimately, after eight years of service, the executive board decided to permanently close the ROC Oct. 30 at 5 p.m. due to a lack of funds.

“It was a decision, I think was made with some thought, but was made very quickly,” said Smalls-Hubbard.

She said the board made the vote within 24 hours, which was painful for everyone involved.

The ROC was originally located downtown, but later moved to Cherry Road in the back of the Pathways Community Center, which is also a shelter.

Smalls-Hubbard said housing has become a problem for some in Rock Hill, because of the tremendous rate of growth the city is experiencing.

“People are being pushed out of their homes,” said Smalls-Hubbard. “Affordable housing is something that we as a community have to address, because I have clients, probably a third of my clients are on some type of disability, but even with $700 to $800 a month, where do you live?”

Many people who work in Charlotte have come to live in South Carolina in recent years, because the taxes and cost of living are lower, which Small-Hubbard said has increased housing costs in the area.

Although the ROC is closed, the Pathways Community Center is temporarily taking over the day center.

“We’re in transition now. Our biggest concern of course was our clients; what do we tell our clients and where do they go,” said Smalls-Hubbard.