Freedom Village move to South Carolina from FLX fails; partners withdraw, too

A vacant group home in the upper reaches of the South Carolina mountains will remain empty after its owner announced Thursday it was walking away from its plans to house troubled teens.

Florida-based Hannah Grace Homes says it will no longer seek to open a facility in Pickens County, yielding to mounting local resistance about the prospect of its arrival in the small community of Sunset.

The move came just a week after the organization publicly distanced itself from its former partner, Freedom Village USA, a Christian group home with a checkered past that it once planned to host there.

Hannah Grace had initially planned to rent land to Freedom Village, a financially hobbled group home that wanted to move to South Carolina from New York’s Finger Lakes Region. That plan quickly met with opposition from several of the group’s former residents, who said Freedom Village’s longtime pastor led with a culture of intimidation that crossed a line into spiritual abuse.

Hannah Grace sought to distance itself from the group earlier this month, saying it would open a group home on its own while Freedom Village wound down its operations in New York. In Sunset, a small community on South Carolina’s mountainous edge, local officials and neighbors were skeptical.

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