Clarkton, NC – Vanessa Williams had lived in her home for nearly 30 years before Hurricane Matthew tore a hole in her roof. Other assistance programs told her to put a tarp over the hole and move on, but Williams knew there had to be a better way forward.
She was still searching for an affordable permanent solution when Hurricane Florence hit and blew rainwater underneath her front door. Her neighborhood “looked like a river,” she says.
Then her mother’s neighbor told her about ReBuild NC. “They helped me fill out the application,” she remembers. “My only job was finding the paperwork to go with it.” When she learned she was going to get a new house from the ground up, she could hardly believe it. “I had to pull over to the side of the road because I cried real tears,” she says.
In late November 2019, Williams packed her belongings and moved into a nearby hotel. During construction, she went every week to check on progress. Plus, her contractor brought swatches to her hotel so she could choose her paint colors, carpet color, bathroom tile and kitchen countertops.
In March 2020, she received a key to her new home, and she immediately noticed several upgrades. For instance, her original home only had one closet. “Now in my new home I have two closets in the master bedroom, a large closet in the guest bedroom, a coat closet in the hall and a linen closet,” she beams. “I had an excuse to go shopping!” Williams’ new home also has a laundry room, a dishwasher and a walk-in pantry—luxuries she is grateful to call her own. “My home is gorgeous. I love it.”
To people who are considering applying to ReBuild NC, she says, “Even if you don’t get a brand new home, they will fix up your old home. I mean, what have you got to lose? Call ASAP. And tell ‘em Vanessa sent you.”