Nonprofits seeking help to rebuild blind resident’s home in Hollywood

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Rural Mission News | Comments Off on Nonprofits seeking help to rebuild blind resident’s home in Hollywood

Post and Courier – Oct 4 2014 3:00 pm

Gadson

Ms. Linda Gadson

A West Ashley church and a Johns Island nonprofit are partnering to build a house for a legally blind man and his mother whose multigenerational home was destroyed by fire five years ago.

After a fire spread from the Hollywood home’s kitchen and left it too damaged to repair, Vernon Holmes could not afford to rebuild. He went to the Rural Mission on Johns Island, a nonprofit that works to meet the needs of rural people living on the sea islands, including housing needs.

It quickly became clear the house, built by Holmes’ grandfather, was too damaged to repair at a reasonable cost.

“The house had taken care of many generations of kids,” said Anderson Mack Jr., Rural Mission’s coordinator of special services.

Vernon Holmes and his mother lost their Hollywood home to fire five years ago. Today, Rural Mission and Charleston First Assembly are helping them rebuild.

Vernon Holmes and his mother lost their Hollywood home to fire five years ago. Today, Rural Mission and Charleston First Assembly are helping them rebuild. 

Yet, the family couldn’t rebuild partly because the house was tied up in heirs property issues.

In stepped a variety of groups to help, including the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, which helps low-income families obtain clear titles to their property.

Then the congregation at Charleston First Assembly, led by The Rev. Charles Taylor, stepped in to see how they could help. They have since contributed money and volunteers.

In April, volunteers demolished the house and began to rebuild as labor and funds were available. A week ago, a large group from Indiana even came down to help.

“It would be great if we could get folks here locally involved with it,” said Mack, adding, “We would like to have the family in the house by Christmas.”

Holmes and his mother have been living with a great-aunt since the fire five years ago.

Their future 768-square-foot house will have two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bath and will be built using structurally engineered panels to help lower their utility bills.

So far, it has walls, floors and part of its roof, Mack said.

“In order to finish the project, we must get volunteers and churches involved,” said Linda Gadson, executive director of Rural Mission.

The group needs volunteer labor, building materials and other assistance. For more information, call Rural Mission at 768-1720 or email info@ruralmission.org. Reach Mack at 670-0431 or Gadson at 670-0434.

Reach Jennifer Hawes at 937-5563 or follow her on Twitter at @JenBerryHawes.