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Ongoing coverage of South Carolina's recovery from the flooding of 2015.What had been Lindsay Langdale's Columbia home October 3, 2015 was a flooded ruin the next day.This coverage is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In October of 2015, South Carolina received rainfall in unprecedented amounts over just a few days time. By the time the rain began to slacken, the National Weather Service reported that the event had dumped more than two feet of water on the state. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the subsequent flooding was the worst in 75 years.

Mississippi Nonprofit Plans to Rebuild 200+ South Carolina Homes in 8 Days

Eight Days of Hope Press Conference
Thelisha Eaddy
SC Public Radio

VOADS (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) are conducting numerous rebuilding projects throughout South Carolina’s 24, flood-impacted, disaster-declared counties. Mississippi-based nonprofit Eight Days of Hope recently announced plans to help the Palmetto state rebuild. The organization will bring thousands of volunteers to Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties to repair over 200 homes.

In eight days, October 8-15, Eight Days of Hope will bring thousands of volunteers to South Carolina to repair more than 200 homes that were damaged during the October 2015 flood.

We hope to be in 200 different homes, touching 200 families that are waiting for someone to give them a glimpse of hope.

“We hope to be in 200 different homes, touching 200 families that are waiting for someone to give them a glimpse of hope,” said Stephen Tybor, III, President and Co-founder of Eight Days of Hope.

The organization rebuilds homes damaged by natural disasters. To date, the group has completed 11 major rebuilds. Since 2005 the organization has rebuilt, remodeled or refurbished 1,717 houses in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Iowa, Alabama and North Carolina.

The projects are massive. The organization’s 11th rebuild project was in Tupelo, MS. Over 3,000 volunteers from 37 states donated 151,000 hours to rebuild homes in the aftermath of the April 28, 2014 tornado.

Tybor said the South Carolina project will be just as large.

"Half of the 3,000 to 3,500 volunteers will come from the professional sector. They’ll be people who do this for a living, but now they want to give back.”

Eight Days of hope is an all-volunteer organization. On its website, the nonprofit has opened registration for volunteers for the South Carolina rebuild project.

Eight Days of Hope Volunteer Registration screenshot
A screenshot from the volunteer registration page on Eight Days of Hope Website, allows individuals, groups and even families to register to help rebuild homes in Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties.

Eight Days of Hope is working with Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery (HHDR) to select the homes that will be included in the rebuild project.

“We are currently trying to determine which homes will be the best 200 for the Eight days of Hope rebuild project. They have specific criteria for what they are looking for in terms of rebuild projects," said Falon Alo, HHDR Executive Director.

During the press conference, specific criteria was not explained in detail, but Lucy Woodhouse, CEO and President of Black River United Way said the local long-term recovery group along with the help of HHDR are looking to ensure families have completed all the necessary paperwork and exhausted all other available resources. Woodhouse also mentioned the scope of each family’s unmet needs will also be a determining factor.

“There may be some projects that are too big for Eight Days of Hope to handle in the eight days they are here. So we may not necessarily pick that project, because we want to be able to have Eight Days come in, work on projects and then leave. We don’t want to leave someone half way done.”

Local farmer talking with HHDR case manager
Credit Thelisha Eaddy / SC Public Radio
SC Public Radio
A Williamsburg County farmer talks with a Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery case manager during a public outreach meeting in Kingstree.

Still have flood-related, unmet needs? HHDR Executive Director Falon Alo says calling the 2-1-1 referral line or speaking directly with an HHDR case manager is the first step to getting connected with available resources.

Tybor said after the eight-day rebuilding project, volunteers associated with Eight Days of Hope will continue to rebuild in the area.

“We will work out with the long term recovery groups and other leaders here, a way for our volunteers to come back in much smaller groups. So it’s not uncommon for a church group from Buffalo, NY to bring 30 people to an area where they served with us two months later, to knock out Mrs. Smiths’ home.”

HHDR Case Managers along with county and state home assessors will visit pre-selected homes the weekend of July 22 to ensure houses qualify for the rebuild project.  Alo said a list of houses selected for the Eight Days of Hope rebuild should be finalized by Oct. 1.