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City extends lease for Sumter United Ministries

BY KAYLA ROBINS kayla@theitem.com
Posted 12/7/19

A nonprofit that helps Sumterites with necessities such as food, clothing and shelter is certain to have a home for decades to come.

With the unanimous approval by Sumter City Council on Tuesday of an ordinance authorizing the lease of its …

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City extends lease for Sumter United Ministries

Posted

A nonprofit that helps Sumterites with necessities such as food, clothing and shelter is certain to have a home for decades to come.

With the unanimous approval by Sumter City Council on Tuesday of an ordinance authorizing the lease of its property on Artillery Drive, Sumter United Ministries extended its lease for the next 30 years.

The faith-based nonprofit opened its doors on Jan. 12, 1994, providing a platform for Sumter churches to meet the needs of the elderly, working poor, disabled and homeless. Since then, it has grown in its ministries offered to include crisis relief, home repair, a homeless shelter and medical services.

There were four or five years left on the original lease, but a need was felt to ensure stability in light of recent expansions yet again to the ministry, according to Mark Champagne, executive director.

"This protects everybody," he said.

With the community investing thousands of dollars - SUM does not receive government funding - on a new homeless shelter, Champagne said it made sense to not have to worry about whether the property will remain in their use for years to come.

The lease has the option to add on four- to five-year extensions.

The new shelter has seen its warehouse completed, with next steps being to build the shelter. Then, they will build five tiny houses for transitional housing.

"They reach the least-haves," Councilman Steve Corley said on Tuesday, "and they are one of the shining lights in our community."