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Home Works, Service in Soda City put free roof on Columbia home

Two groups in the Midlands are providing no-cost home renovations to low-income homeowners.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Albertha Delany Taylor has lived in her home on Roberson Street in Columbia since she graduated high school. She says the home was originally owned by her parents who occasionally did work on the house but have had issues with flooding.

As a low-income senior resident, Taylor was only able to get minor work done on the house. She was advised by a friend to apply for free home renovations from Home Works. On Friday, groups came out to repair her roof, porch, and even paint her exterior at no cost to her.  

“[Home Works] said ‘Do you might your house being painted white?’ And what’d you think I was gonna say? No? I said ‘Yes!” she said.

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Home Works is a South Carolina-based non-profit that provides free home renovations to low-income homeowners. The organization says it helps an average of 120 homeowners per year. Applicants must meet a set of criteria before they can be accepted. 

According to Home Works, they must be on income such as social security, disability, or Medicaid, they also must live in the home for 5 years following the renovations, and must not own other properties. 

“If we can repair their roof, we can keep them in their home for 10 to 15 years,” said Lyle Miller with Home Works. 

He adds that, with youth volunteers, they are able to create learning experiences, “empowering them with the use of tools, but also the feeling of wellbeing of being able to help somebody that’s maybe a little different economic status than they are.”

With Home Works on Friday was Service in The Soda City, another non-profit that partners with local churches and groups to provide services like construction and free meals. Brandon Templeton was one of the original members of Service in the Soda City and said the group aims to create a space for teens to grow.

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“We just bring the manpower, the youth volunteers, the adult volunteers,” he said. “It gives you faith, right? You hear all about the youth of today and blah blah blah – well you see about 40 of them here that are not fitting that mold that we hear about.”

Templeton added that Taylor’s renovations should be complete by the end of the weekend.