Habitat for Humanity doesn’t just change homes, it changes lives.
That was one of the powerful messages heard at the May 2 gathering of supporters and community leaders at Brookland United Methodist Church in West Columbia. They delivered words of support for an organization that has helped repair and renovate homes in the Midlands for years.
Rania Jamison, chair of the Central S.C. Habitat for Humanity, said the organization has struggled during the pandemic with limited resources and higher costs, but has remained “resilient” in its mission.
Since 1985, Habitat has seen the completion of work on 273 homes, and 96 homeowners have paid off their mortgages. Habitat provides an 18-24-month program that includes counseling, life skills and home maintenance classes.
Asked by the Chronicle about the application process, Habitat officials said anyone can apply for assistance at local offices. They must fill out an application form and meet requirements of the program.
Applicants are chosen based upon need, ability to pay an interest-free mortgage, and willingness to partner with our ministry in performing 350-550 hours of service.
With so many applications, Habitat officials say they are only able to qualify a small number.
But those who have received the help have experienced remarkable life improvements.
In an emotional address at the gathering, Trina Torres recounted growing up in an abusive home in her younger years and flunking out of high school. At age 25, she was trying to raise three children, but her home was unsafe, falling apart. It was Habitat for Humanity that not only changed her home, but changed her world.
After the interaction, she went on to graduate from college. All three of her daughters also graduated from college.
“It was a home to come home to … a safe place to go,” Torres said.
None of those changes would have come about “if it hadn’t been for Habitat,” she said.
Her home has since become a community gathering place.
Another Midlands resident, Eddie Summers, shared a similar life-changing event.
He had doubts that anyone could help as he struggled to keep his home in shape. A leaking roof prompted him to set out pots to catch the water dripping from the ceiling. While Habitat promised help, Summers thought it was “just talk.”
But as it turned out, “it was more action than talk,” he said.
As he saw his house transformed into a functional dwelling, his life changed.
“I have hope now,” he said. “When you have a home, you have peace.”
Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan said Habitat’s work can change a community as it changes people’s lives. He cited the Arthurtown community in Cayce as an area that benefited from Habitat’s work.
Cowan said the changes Habitat makes are like planting a seed that spreads roots and strengthens surroundings.
In Cayce, Cowan said Habitat’s work has “improved the quality of life.”
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