New Directions was established in 2013 as a collaborative effort to better assist homeless, men, women, and families in our community. This effort was begun by consolidating three independent local shelters into one organization: Street Reach Ministries, a shelter for single men and women (est. 1994), LifeLine, a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence (est. 2013), and the Center for Women and Children. These shelters were reorganized and reopened under the umbrella of New Directions and became New Directions for Men, New Directions for Women, and New Directions Snug Harbor Transitional Housing respectively. A fourth shelter, Myrtle Beach Haven, was opened in 2008, and became incorporated into New Directions in August 2015 as New Directions for Families.
Shortly after reorganizing these shelters under the New Directions umbrella, the organization implemented a comprehensive program that would go beyond the fundamentals of providing shelter, meals, and basic needs, but would tackle homelessness head on. Back To Work, Back To Life was established as New Directions’ signature program to identify and address underlying issues and causes of homelessness; addiction, mental health issues, legal issues, physical health issues, transportation, displacement, and more.
In 2016, we began adding program partnerships and initiatives to directly address the top barriers our clients face in their journey out of homelessness. In 2016, in partnership with the City of Myrtle Beach, we added a Peer Support Program. In 2017, Little River Medical Center opened a clinic at our Men’s Shelter. In 2018, Coastal Carolina University Sociology began the Rolling Forward Project to provide free bike transportation at our shelters. Homeless Court, a voluntary diversion program through the City of Myrtle Beach Municipal Court, began, holding its first session in March 2019. In 2020, our Peer Support Program (now known as ARO) to provide peer support and recovery outreach to both Horry and Georgetown Counties.
In early 2021, as the result of an expanded peer support program, we began to pivot our programming to include onsite recovery solutions. We realized that we served more than just those experiencing homelessness, but also, those experiencing poverty and addiction. The Pathways program was created to provide the core focus of Back To Work, Back To Life – addressing underlying barriers of homelessness, poverty, and addiction by connecting individuals with resources – with the 12 Step Facilitation Method recovery model. This revamped program helps teach our clients “how to live again” while addressing issues and helping them develop a toolkit of resources for life beyond the shelter.
From Fiscal Years 2014 – 2020, New Directions served over 6,928 Men, Women, and Children, 392 Families through 423,768 nights of shelter and over 440,000 meals. During that time, 3,065 Individuals, 374 Families secured a positive solution to homelessness through permanent housing, reuniting with family, or placement in long-term recovery. We look forward to helping even more families and individuals recover from homelessness, poverty, and addiction because for those in crisis, at New Directions, Hope Starts Here.