Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions
About Hope House of Myrtle Beach
1. What is Hope House?
Hope House of Myrtle Beach (HH) is a totally volunteer managed, non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the education and general well-being of homeless Myrtle Beach High School (MBHS) students. It is operated by a volunteer board of directors. The day-to-day focus is to provide their immediate needs which include food, tutoring, test and school fees, school supplies, athletic gear, clothing and whatever else might present itself so that attending school is nurturing experience which represents a home-like environment for them. The HH Board of Directors, together with the administration of MBHS, work through the guidance department and teachers to seek and serve students who are designated homeless and are meeting the requirements to receive a diploma. HH is 501C3 tax exempt and registered with the SC Secretary of State, maintaining financial records which are open to the public.
2. How did Hope House start?
On December 11, 2008, a front page article in the Myrtle Beach Herald newspaper announced a large presence of homeless students at MBHS. Until then, the community at large was unaware that homeless students – at that time nearly 200 of them – were enrolled at MBHS. The community response was immediate, unqualified and unprecedented. Within days cash donations to high school administrators topped $20,000. Food clothing and other materials poured in. School staff were inundated with requests to help in any way. The author of the article, Bo Bryan, received numerous requests for further information, along with suggestions as to how the effort to help these students might be formalized and made on-going. Meetings were held with school officials and a core group was inspired forming a non-profit. Today, only a few years later, HH is a well-known non-profit entity in the community.3.How do you decide 3. which children to help? Where do they come from? Why are they homeless?
HH students must be formally enrolled and actively attending classes at MBHS. Homeless students are identified under the dictates of the McKinney-Vento Act, a Federal mandate which offers some support for the disadvantaged, namely breakfast and lunch at school. HH extends a more comprehensive helping hand. Most children in need have not been utterly abandoned. Some have. Each case is unique. Struggling below the poverty level, single-parent family units are the most common. Typically, the student has no secure form of housing, no safe, conducive environment in which to get a good night’s sleep or enough to eat. Many work after school in order to contribute to the family’s survival. Not infrequently, homeless students try to hide their condition, not wanting to appear homeless or disadvantaged. Inability to stay awake in class, dingy clothing or signs of hunger are red flags for school administrators. These teens come from broken homes, have lost their parents or have been abandoned. They are old enough that they do not wish to be a part of the social services system.
4. How many students is Hope House currently supporting?
The number of students constantly varies. In a homeless condition, family units are typically nomadic, forced to relocate if work becomes available elsewhere or the chance of better living conditions arises. And, again, often led by a single parent who does not earn an acceptable wage. On average, HH provides for the immediate needs of between 20 and 40 students at any given time. It is important to know that there are many students at the school who may not be designated homeless but who are in dire circumstances. ALL students are assisted in every way we can. The number of unaccompanied youth averages around 5 at any given time.
5. What sort of donations is Hope House looking for?
Money of course is the most valuable way to donate, and a donation form will be sent for any received. Donations of food, school supplies, laundry detergent and toilet paper and in particular, personal toiletries are always appreciated. We can only receive new clothing items per a DEHEC requirement, and these items are listed on our needs list posted on our Facebook page. Gift cards in very small denominations are very valuable. $5, $10, $20 gift cards from retailers such as Walmart, Target, Visa, and Food Lion/grocery stores. These can be given to students to purchase for specific needs, especially over weekends or summer months. We have found that in this way they can shop and also learn to budget for their needs. On our Facebook page we update the immediate needs on a list for those items of utmost need at the time. No currency is ever give to a student.
6. Whom should a person contact to inquire about volunteering?
To volunteer time and skills please contact HH at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers provide the manpower for much needed effort to bring the needs of our students and HH to those who are not aware. They solicit donations, inform the public of HH activities and keep the ball rolling. Academically skilled volunteers offer remedial tutoring for struggling students and can be great help in the school. Grant writing is a particular service we currently require.
7. What are the long range goals of Hope House?
From the beginning, HH has declared a long range goal of providing a shelter for homeless high school students. The concept is a dormitory style home/building and 60% of all funds raised, unless otherwise designated, are dedicated to our building fund.
8. Does Hope House operate year round? When school is closed?
Yes, through the board of directors, someone is always available to assist with student needs.
9. Where is Hope House located?
Though HH does not have a physical office we are pleased to say this assures a very low operational expense. Board members and MBHS receives physical donations which are sent to the HH closet located within the school. From this closet students can receive any needed items. Monetary donations are received at our mailing address.
10. What is the contact information for Hope House?
Though we do not have an office, and our phone is not ‘manned,’ we do make every effort to answer messages within 48 hours from the time received.
Updated: May 16, 2019