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09/01/2022

PHOTO GALLERY: Parker's Partners to Provide Emergency Housing for Women

Parker's House will provide housing and support services to 100 women annually.
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Parker's House ribbon cutting

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Parker's and Union Mission cut the ribbon on Parker's House: A Home for Women in a ceremony held Aug. 31.

The facility is dedicated to providing emergency housing and comprehensive services for unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness in Savannah and across coastal Georgia. It will officially open on Sept. 6, and will provide housing and support services to 100 women annually.

According to Union Mission, women comprise approximately 28 percent of the homeless population in Savannah, and Savannah-Chatham County has the second highest rate of homelessness in Georgia.  

"On any given night in Chatham County, approximately 180 women are experiencing homelessness," said Union Mission President and CEO Michael Traynor. "The demand for Parker's House from women in our community is tremendous. This facility will be laser-focused on helping unaccompanied, homeless women, offering much-needed housing and essential services 24/7."

Located at 125 Fahm St. in the former J.C. Lewis Healthcare building in Savannah, the 10,590-square-foot facility will offer emergency housing, on-site case workers, residential assistants and support services for up to 32 women for 90 days.

Parker's House also includes a common kitchen, living room, dining room, computer room, multipurpose conference center and laundry room. Interior walls throughout the facility feature empowering quotes designed to inspire women at Parker's House.

"It's not a crime to be homeless. It's a crime not to do something about it," Savannah Mayor Van Johnson.

In 2021, Parker's made a $250,000 donation to Union Mission from the Parker's Community Fund, which is administered by the Savannah Community Foundation, to support the founding of the new Parker's House. The Parker's Community Fund is focused on making a transformative impact in the areas that the convenience store operator serves in Georgia and South Carolina.

"We're thrilled to support Union Mission's vision to create a safe space for women experiencing homelessness in Savannah by creating Parker's House," said Parker's founder and CEO Greg Parker. "There's an urgent need to provide emergency housing and support services for women in need right here in our community."

At the ribbon cutting — which also included Union Mission Board Chairman Neilie Dunn, Sarah Mills Hodge Foundation Board Chairman Dr. Paul Pressly, and Reverend Patricia Youngquist — Parker issued a challenge to the Savannah community, pledging to match up to $100,000 for new donations made to Parker's House through Sept. 30.

An Inside Look at Parker's House

Parker's House offers a safe, secure environment that includes 16 bedrooms with shared baths, as well as an adjacent gated courtyard that was renovated by accomplished local landscape designer John McEllen.

Interior renovations included building out the existing space to comply with COVID-19 safety standards and precautions, upgrades to ensure American Disabilities Act compliance as well as improvements to the electrical, plumbing and fire suppression systems.

Additionally, SCAD SERVE, a university initiative devoted to developing community-related solutions, commissioned Savannah College of Art and Design graduate Robin Maaya to work with Union Mission to beautify the walls at Parker's House by photographing Union Mission clients in various programs. The collection of 28 photographs entitled "Mission of Mercy" portrays the stories and celebrates the lives of local men and women served by Union Mission.

Each Parker's House client will be assigned a case manager for individualized case management, wellness checks, employment support and referrals to primary care and mental health providers. For clients in mental health crisis, the Union Mission Counseling Center will create individual service plans.

For 85 years, Union Mission has cared for Savannah's homeless community by offering emergency, transitional and permanent housing solutions to those in need. It also provides mental health counseling, food, clothing, transportation and job placements as part of its comprehensive wrap-around supportive services available to all homeless people in the community. The mission of Union Mission is to partner with people to end their homelessness through housing and supportive services. 

In 2021, Union Mission helped transition 603 men, women and children from the streets of Savannah to safe, stable housing, providing 134,658 nights of housing and more than 75,320 meals to individuals and families in need.

Headquartered in Savannah, Parker's operates more than 70 convenience stores throughout southeast Georgia and South Carolina.