By Sea Island Habitat for Humanity for The Island Connection
Starting July 1, 2021, Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach and Sea Island Habitat for Humanity partnered together to complete critical home repair projects across the Sea Islands and beyond. This partnership will allow Sea Island Habitat for Humanity to increase their capacity to complete projects while giving Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach’s clients muchneeded access to, and financial support for, home repair services. For the first year, the organizations are hoping to repair between six to 15 homes with an estimated value of over $30,000. Sea Island Habitat for Humanity creates homeownership opportunities for low-income families by building new homes, weatherizing and repairing existing homes. Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach provides basic and emergency resources, health, job assistance and education programs to those living on the Eastside of downtown Charleston and the rural Sea Islands. This partnership is a large step in providing local affordable housing solutions that directly improve living conditions for people in need. “Home repair assistance is an ongoing need for our elders and others living on the Sea Islands. We believe everyone has the right to thrive, and this includes the right to live comfortably and safely and to be able to remain in place, in the communities where they have spent their lives — even generations. We are excited to partner with Sea Island Habitat for Humanity — all in the name of improving our community,” says Ericka Plater, Executive Director of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. Those on fixed incomes are more than likely unable to make home repairs. With the increasing cost of building materials homeowners are having to decide between making necessary repairs or paying the mortgage. Repair and modifications will prevent deterioration, stabilize the value of the homes, improve safe and healthy living conditions and allow Lowcountry individuals and families to build generational wealth in areas where gentrification is continuing to grow.
“We have been steadily growing the SIHH Critical Home Repair Program for over three years, yet an ongoing waiting list of applications remains. If we’ve learned anything it’s that we cannot do it alone. With the support of partners like Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, private donors and volunteers, we are able to continue this vital community work,” says John Rhoden, Executive Director of Sea Island Habitat for Humanity.