By Sheilagh Carlisle for The Island Connection
While Habitat for Humanity is a national organization, Sea Island Habitat is the local affiliate and our own nonprofit. We are responsible for our own fundraising and operations, which means we get to focus all of our attention on the challenges our neighbors face right here in the Lowcountry. Last year alone we completed nine brand-new homes and made more than 100 vital repairs to existing homes. Our repair program helps with leaky roofs, inefficient or broken doors and windows and home accessibility.
As an example, just this past week on Johns Island, we completed a roof repair and a deck reconstruction for Ms. Kathy. She was unable to make the updates on her own, but she was absolutely willing to help our staff and volunteers. She said the repairs were so vital because her home acts as a safe space for many nieces, nephews and neighborhood kids who spend their time with her after school and in the summer. They will now have safe entry to a warm and dry home. As we worked on the repair, neighborhood kids played, excited we were there to help Aunt Kathy.
Now that we have wrapped up Kathy’s home, we will move on to the very long list of local applicants who still need our help. We are working as quickly as we can to address situations where the elements are entering a home or where homeowners face accessibility challenges and are in need of a stair repair or ramp installation for wheelchair access.
We installed a brand new ramp for Mr. Jimmy on Wadmalaw Island this past year. He’s 88 years old and often faces challenges getting in and out of the house. He was so thankful to SIHH because he can now age in place.
The majority of folks we help on Johns, Wadmalaw and James islands are seniors, and their average annual income is around $15,000. We are currently looking for volunteers to help us grow this program and reach the many neighbors on the surrounding islands who still need our help.
If you are interested in supporting this vital program or working on a critical home repair, please contact Sheilagh@seaislandhabitat.org. We provide the tools and instruction and look forward to working together to improve the lives of our neighbors.