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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.

Survivors, Volunteers Both in Need of Housing, 11 Months After Flood

Volunteers work on Flood-damaged house
Thelisha Eaddy
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SC Public Radio

Volunteers and charitable organizations are essential to long-term disaster recovery. They gut houses, hang dry wall, fix roofs, remove mold along with a plethora of other needed services. But housing out-of-state volunteers for weeks or months at a time can be challenging. ThelishaEaddy talks with United Way of Midlands Disaster Recovery Manager Michael Hagins, about how, 11 months after October’s flood, housing is an issue for both flood survivors and the volunteers who want to help them.

More Volunteers Are On the Way

Brethren Disaster Ministries uses a network of volunteers to repair or rebuild damaged homes for disaster survivors who lack sufficient resources to hire a contractor or other paid labor.  Hagins said the United Way has been able to secure housing for the group with Corner Stone Presbyterian Church in Irmo.

“They’ve already done some work in the area. They basically repair homes that have been damaged.”

The group will provide a continuous stream of 15 volunteers per week with three, supervising full-time staff stationed in the area. According to Hagins, the United Way is working to secure more groups to come and work in the area during the winter months.

“Whether they come here or not will depend on if we find adequate housing for them.”

Harvest Call is another group the United Way of the Midlands is working to find housing for. An outreach arm of the Apostolic Christian Church of America (ACCA), the ministry works to alleviate suffering and despair around the world by sharing Jesus through words of truth and deeds of compassion. According to its website, www.harvestcall.org, the ministry currently is currently working in 11 project areas worldwide.

"They do this every year. They go to a disaster area January through March and they basically build new houses. That's what they like to do," Hagins said. The ministry will bring 40, skilled volunteers to the area.

More Funds. More Volunteers. More Housing Needs.

The United Way of the Midlands is coordinating the long term recovery efforts in Richland and Lexington counties.  In recent weeks, the nonprofit received a $50,000 donation from Wells Fargo to continue to repair and rebuild homes damaged in the October flood. The organization also announced its latest distribution from its flood fund. The United Way of the Midlands will offer grants to rebuild groups in Richland and Lexington counties.

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Credit Thelisha Eaddy / sc
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sc
Members of United Way of the Midlands, Wells Fargo and SBP (formerly Saint Bernard Project) and a homeowner impacted by flood

With the availability of more funds, more rebuild projects can take place. This means more opportunities for volunteer groups to come to the area and assist in rebuilding and thus more need for housing.