Seniors in Myrtle Beach struggling against economy

Myrtle Beach Sun-NewsSeptember 27, 2010 

Dottie Gore counts her blessings when it comes time to pay bills each month.

Gore, 78, lives outside of Loris, and she's making ends meet with the help of a part-time cleaning job, social security and the luck of owning her own home. For many seniors who depend on social service programs, the economic downturn is starting to take a toll as the budgets for those programs and the ability of family members to offer financial help deteriorates.

"We have a lot of seniors who are moving to this area because it's quieter and it doesn't cost as much," Gore said. "There's a lot of people who don't have a house. If mine hadn't been paid for when my husband passed away, I don't know what I'd have done."

Ray Fontaine, director of the Horry County Council on Aging, is aiming to help at least some of the seniors who are stretched to their limit. The agency received a federal housing grant this summer, the only Section 202 grant awarded in South Carolina and the southeast this year, to build affordable senior apartments off Heritage Road outside of Loris. York County received a similar grant about five years ago, but the Loris facility will be the first of its kind in Horry County.

"The reason I wanted to venture into this is we get a lot of phone calls ... upsetting phone calls from people who have very little resources," Fontaine said. "Their family isn't around or they've moved away and the house starts to deteriorate.

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