Both shelters provide a safe place to stay and the support needed to transition from life on the streets to ongoing self-sufficiency. By October of 2017 the Shelter for Women and Mothers with Children was operating at full capacity. Hence, Pathway began looking for a way to develop additional income streams to support an expansion of beds and homeless services for mothers and their children.
After considerable deliberation, the prospect of supplementary income generated by a thrift store operation sounded appealing to the Pathway board of directors. An opportunity soon arose, thanks be to God, for Pathway to purchase a large tract adjacent to its campus.
Many Greenwood natives would recognize this property as the former home of the Davis Buick auto dealership, with its large building on South Main Street—ideal for a thrift store— and providing an appealing and highly visible presence for the ministry on a busy thoroughfare.
At this point, Pathway’s venerable executive director, Ken Kelly, saw this as an appropriate time to pass the torch to a younger CEO, who could shepherd the expanding Pathway House ministry into the future. After an extensive executive search, the Board asked Anthony Price (Executive Director at Haywood Christian Ministry in Waynesville, NC) to come in as its new lead executive, so that Ken Kelly could begin his transition to retirement.
Coming on board in October of 2018, Anthony immediately began the strategic planning process to expand the ministry to meet the needs of the homeless in our area.
Pathway received their first GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency in October of 2018 and their accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability in November of 2018.
Pathway Village crowns what could be loosely described as a “ministry metamorphosis”, borrowing a term from biology signifying a change of form or structure after hatching or birth.
In addition to “brick & mortar” growth, we’ve developed in some other important ways as well. We’ve refined our methods and approaches to lifting folks out of homelessness and ensuring, as best we can, that their independence sticks. We’ve firmly rejected an easy approach that is always ineffective: the familiar one that gives handouts time after time and sidesteps legitimate help. The type of help that we prefer to offer provides safety, stability, and support, while requiring the clients to actively participate in their own life transformation.
We also came to realize that clients who stayed with us for a prolonged period (6 to 12 months) were better able to maintain their independence after leaving. Typically, they had established meaningful trusting relationships with our staff, with local churches, with our regular volunteers, and most importantly, with God.
These strong relationships formed the solid foundation required to support a healthy, well rounded, and independent life. It is apparent that our longer-term clients had far greater opportunity to nurture their faith in God and to establish and confront the root causes of their homelessness.
We discovered that these roots were most often traceable to complex trauma experienced in childhood or as younger adults. Using a variety of resources, we diligently studied and researched the effects of trauma and its connection to homelessness—quite simply, the results demanded action. Our Board voted in September of 2022 to officially transition from a conventional homeless shelter to a homeless ministry, with an emphasis on trauma-informed care and an extended term residential structure.
By the grace of God, a bare-bones operation providing food and shelter to a handful of homeless men has blossomed into a fully staffed, well-appointed campus providing trauma-informed residential care to over 100 men, women, and children of all ages.