A little more than a year after historic flooding devastated Richland County, one local flood survivor is home once again thanks to a successful partnership between local government and several volunteer organizations.
The restoration of Betty Shelton’s flood-damaged home in Denny Terrace, off Monticello Road, was made possible through a joint effort between Richland Restores and the St. Bernard Project (SBP). Richland Restores was a pilot Richland County flood recovery program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by way of a Community Development Block Grant. Richland Restores allocated $300,000 to help rebuild homes in unincorporated areas of the County, and with the help of SBP, a national disaster recovery organization, four flood-damaged homes have been repaired.
“Ms. Betty’s home is the fourth and final home to be restored through the Richland Restores and SBP partnership,” said Richland County Recovery Chief Mike King. “Her home was, by far, the one that sustained the most damage, and to see it today, totally repaired, is really unbelievable.”
Shelton’s home was swept off its foundation during the October 2015 flood when swift-moving floodwaters pummeled the house, which is located on a downward slope. In addition to the severe structural damage, a subsequent mold infestation rendered the structure completely unlivable.
But thanks to the tireless efforts 140 volunteers, Shelton, her daughter and her five grandchildren are home once again.
During a special homecoming ceremony Oct. 19, dozens of volunteers, Richland County officials and representative from various entities that supported the Richland Restores-SBP project welcomed Shelton back into her fully restored home.
“I’m just so happy,” Shelton said. “It’s been a long journey … and I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped. I’m so grateful.”
Repairs to the home included gutting it to its framework to remove mold, replacing the water heater and HVAC system, laying down sod in the front yard, and rebuilding the back porch and stairs, which were washed away by floodwaters.
“This was truly a labor of love for everyone involved,” said Richland County Community Development Director Valeria Jackson. “Richland County can’t thank enough the SBP, the United Way and especially the selfless volunteers who spent so many hours, days, weeks to make these home restorations a complete success.”
The three other homes repaired through Richland Restores are located in other unincorporated areas of the County.
United Way of the Midlands, the American Red Cross, AmeriCorps, House in a Box and many local volunteer groups supported the Richland Restores-SBP partnership and lent their resources throughout the home restoration projects.