On Tuesday, United Ministries and the Greenville Homeless Alliance launched the first official Greenville “Poverty Tour”.
About a dozen people took a two-hour bus tour through communities close to downtown Greenville that were traditionally segregated neighborhoods.
“I felt like this opened my eyes to much that’s hidden that we drive by everyday and never see when we just run about our normal lives,” Susan McLarty with the Greenville Homeless Alliance said.
McLarty opened the tour up to the community after going through a similar experience.
“The tour is the first point to help people see the many challenges people face…I did not realize how inadequate much of the housing that we still have today is,” McLarty said.
The tour took the group through neighborhoods such as Sterling, Nicholtown, Haynie-Sirrine, and West Greenville. People saw how boarded up homes were next to new construction which was also next to mobile homes. They even witnessed an eviction, which tour leaders say is often the result of expensive homes being built in more poverty stricken areas.
Tina Harris works for FAVOR Greenville, a recovery center, and went on the tour to help her with outreach for her job.
“A lot of the neighborhoods that we went through were just a reminder to me that I have a heart of gratitude now because those are the neighborhoods my addiction took me to,” Harris said.
She said the tour gave her mixed emotions.
“What I see is there’s been some changes, and in some of them very little change, and a lot of neighborhood a lot of change, but I don’t think the change is for the right people,” Harris said.
Most of the people on the tour agree that growth in Greenville is good but say the tour sparked a desire in them to do more in the community to make sure everyone experiences the good that it has to offer.
The Homeless Alliance says they had a waiting list for this trip, so they’re planning on holding another tour soon.