In the 1970s, three members of the Junior League of Greenville (Caroline Johnston, Sheila Lee, and Tunky Riley) learned that children often spent the night in jail cells when they entered foster care because there were not enough foster homes for them. Finding this unacceptable, the Junior League of Greenville (JLG) purchased a red brick home on Pendleton Street and founded Pendleton Place as an emergency foster care shelter for children aged birth to 18. Pendleton Place opened its doors in 1975 to offer a caring, homelike environment to children entering care. In 2000, the original Pendleton Place was replaced by a new, larger building that more than doubled the number of beds available for youth entering the system.
In 1986, Pendleton Place expanded to include a group home for teenage girls in foster care in the beautiful childhood home of John I. Smith. Today, we continue to focus on independent living skills at Smith House for teens who are likely to age out of foster care, and have established a Smith House Alumni Cottage to ensure three former residents of Smith House have successful launches into adulthood after foster care.
Although the government defunded emergency foster care shelters in 2012, Pendleton Place has evolved to meet the needs of our hometown. Much of the "new" building was converted in a comprehensive Assessment Center to provide medical and mental health evaluations for children entering the system through a partnership with Prisma Health and Greater Greenville Mental Health.
In 2023, we plan to relocate our Assessment Center across the street to serve as an inclusive hub of family strengthening and foster care entry services as a Family Resource Center.
Today, the original foster care shelter has found new life as an emergency homeless shelter for youth aged 12-21, and Pendleton Place has added multiple programs to support youth experiencing homelessness. Our drop-in center offers basic needs (showers, laundry, food) to youth experiencing homelessness. Our brand new transitional living program provides up to 18 months of shelter with structured skill building and case management support for youth up to 21 years old who are experiencing homelessness, while we operate two HUD housing programs for youth up to 24 years old.