Habitat for Humanity of Kershaw County recently received a grant of $78,333.30 from the Santee Lynches Sumter County Regional HOME Consortium Board of Directors.
Habitat Kershaw County Director Laurey Carpenter says the grant will enable Habitat to build an additional house for a Kershaw County family.
“Santee Lynches’ HOME consortium does annual grants for specific projects. We applied for it to build a home … This grant will allow us to build one additional home. I’m thankful the consortium felt it was a worthy project. The good thing is our taxpaying funds are coming back to our county,” Carpenter said.
Santee Lynches Economic and Community Sustainability Director Kyle Kelly said the HOME Consortium’s purpose is to assist with projects that provide affordable housing options,
“The Sumter County Regional HOME Consortium’s mission is to finance (the) development and preservation of affordable housing in the four-county Santee Lynches region. The consortium is pleased to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Kershaw County to fulfill this important mission,” Kelly said.
Carpenter says a location for an upcoming house will be in the Lugoff area.
“We are Habitat for Kershaw County, so now we will be spreading our wings a little bit further,” Carpenter said. “We are actively looking for property in the Lugoff-Elgin area. We already have two potential homeowners in Lugoff. We are excited because their children go to school in the West Wateree area and will be able to continue to do so with the home being built in Lugoff. I’m real pleased we are able to do that.”
The grant from Santee Lynches will enable Habitat to direct money to other projects.
“Since we have this funding, it will free up our individual funds for us to be able to open up home repairs to existing home owners,” Carpenter said.
Habitat will pay for home repairs and create an affordable repayment system for homeowners under the home repair program.
“There are many homeowners that cannot afford the high cost of home repairs. Carpenter said. “With our motto being we provide a hand up, we will begin offering home repairs at a fraction of the cost. The homeowner will be responsible for some type of payment, but not the entire bill. This program will begin in the last quarter of 2016. This way, homeowners on a strict budget or fixed income will be able to sustain their homes so they can stay in them.”
Habitat also began a new home application policy on Sept. 1. That will open up applications for homes to year round instead of once a year, Carpenter said.
“Instead of taking applications once a year, we are opening it and never closing it,” she said. “We will always have anywhere between four to six home owners in the pipeline. I’m really excited.”
In addition to building homes, Carpenter said Habitat also focuses on building communities. Habitat for Kershaw County has partnered with other non profits such as the United Way of Kershaw County and Kershaw County towns Elgin and Bethune to host Community Build Days.
“Habitat’s mission is to bring people together to build homes, community and hope,” she said. “Habitat has implemented their Community Build Day; this is where Habitat partners with another agency/non-profit and help them with a construction or beautification project. The organization has already partnered with the United Way and the Kershaw County Library System. Our community build day has been helping to build the community in the sense we are working with other non profits. We are really putting our mission to work.”
Carpenter says she is known to have big goals and she is hoping to accomplish one of those in five years.
“I’m hoping within five years we will be breaking ground on a neighborhood. We are in the beginning planning stages of it. That does take some time; I do foresee Habitat having a neighborhood. Also, right now we help homeowners who are in the 30 - 60 percent median income range. We are looking in providing homes for another segment which would be 60-80 percent of median income. So a lot of good things are coming.”