GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – An interfaith organization met in Greenville Thursday night to discuss progress they’ve made fighting some of the community’s biggest problems.
Hundreds gathered at Springfield Baptist Church for a rally to address two crises facing Greenville: affordable housing and mental health. Solutions were outlined to address these problems at both the local and state levels.
“What we’ve done over the last several months is just do our research,” said Amanda Taylor, a member of the affordable housing committee.
The interfaith organization, Greenville Organized for Accountable Leadership, or ‘GOAL’, met last fall to identify the biggest issues facing the community.
One problem they’re tackling is affordable housing.
“In Greenville, alone, there are 30,000 people who are one missed paycheck away from experiencing homelessness,” said Taylor.
Taylor said Greenville needs another 11,000 homes to meet its needs.
“We would like for the city and the county to each individually allocate 10 million dollars, annually towards affordable housing,” she said.
Thirty percent of that money would go to people who are earning 30%, or less of the area’s median income. Which Taylor said is $27,000 or less each year.
Another goal is mental health.
“Find full funding for the 988-suicide hotline, operated by Mental Health America,” said Mike Hoyt, with the mental health research committee.
Hoyt said they need funding to respond to all of the hotline calls made within South Carolina.
“In 2022, we received over 46,000 calls to the suicide lifeline. That’s about 127 calls a day. Because we’re not fully staffed, only 55 of those received an in-state response,” said Hoyt.
The remainder of those calls, according to Hoyt, were routed out of state for help.
“Of that 72, 24 of them would have been children, youth and young adults who received no in-state response to their call for help,” he said.
GOAL is asking $3.9 million dollars from the state budget to fully fund the lifeline. Hoyt said right now, the state has a $3.9 billion surplus.
Community members who attended are on board with the solutions.
“I do believe that we have to use our voice as people joining together to help encourage those resources to come forward,” said Susan McLarty.
Organizers said Thursday night’s rally was to prepare for an upcoming event on Tuesday, March 28. That’s when the group’s solutions will be presented to local leaders.
The event will be held from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church. GOAL asks that members bring three guests to expand their network.
The organization is currently made up of 20 different congregations, with over 500 members in total.