On Thursday, May 15, Anita Tedder’s dead body was found in Marion Square of Downtown Charleston. Tedder was homeless and often stayed at Crisis Ministries, Charleston’s largest homeless shelter. A day later, State Representative Wendell Gilliard of District 111, who has introduced a resolution at the statehouse to deal with the issue, spoke with community leaders in North Charleston.
“Each and every one of us in this room are just a fixed step from being homeless and I’ll lead the crowd, I’ll tell anybody that, and when we realize that, then it tells us we need to do something about it,” says Gilliard.
Gilliard says his proposed law addresses two things:
“Number one, in the resolution I asked that we need to take a count in the state of South Carolina, as how many homeless people there are in the state. Number two, I also asked that we ascertain whether the facilities are adequate enough to handle the influx of people here in the state,” says Gilliard.
Gilliard says the latest case of one homeless finding another in Marion Square raises the question of overcrowding at the shelters. According to Crisis Ministries Director Stacey Denaux they are at full capacity every night.
“We really work to move people out as quickly as we can, so that those that are new to being homeless can move in. So, we’re really focused on moving people out and back in to self-sufficiency as opposed to continue to warehousing people,” says Denaux.
Gilliard says it’s places like Crisis Ministries and other shelters around the state that show in the current economic downturn, homelessness will get worse if something is not done.
“People we do have a problem. Some things some people don’t like to talk about, what we call as reference as being taboo and when I find people who are trying to address these issues, I’m drawn to them,” says Gilliard.
Gilliard says statehouse officials have their priorities mixed up, and he says it’s time to present new resolutions that pertain to the people, like Tedder. Charleston County Deputy Coroner Dottie Lindsay says the cause of death is still under investigation and there were no signs of trauma.