Collaboration can be intimidating. Things can get messy, or seem more challenging when additional people are involved. However, when collaboration is embraced, organizations are better equipped to reach more people, be more effective and change more lives. Home Works of America and PASOs embraced collaboration, and the outcome was vast.
After the October floods the Foundation spent time thinking about the lives of those who were affected. Among those who were impacted were immigrant families. Seeing a need in the community, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina decided to bring Home Works of America’s attention to a potential partnership with PASOS. The Foundation knew that immigrant families within our communities were hit hard, and their homes were in need of repair, but many of them would not be eligible for government aid.
That’s where Home Works stepped in.
Home Works has provided home repairs to low-income homeowners across S.C. for 20 years. After the floods, the Foundation funded Home Works in order to address the immediate needs of home repair. In total, the initial funds were used to serve four elderly homeowners, six African American homeowners, at least three homes that had children living in mold conditions and two Latino immigrant single mothers from the PASOs program.
PASOs helps the Latino community and service providers work together for strong and healthy families through education, support and grassroots leadership development. The two Latino immigrant women who received home repairs, Yohana and Daisy, have both lived in the United States and worked with PASOs for many years. Both women work, take care of their children and strive to make their communities better.
Prior to the flood, many Latino immigrant community homes needed roof, ceiling and exterior repairs. Despite this, most of the landlords were unwilling to make the necessary repairs. However, eager to expand their outreach, Home Works gladly jumped to the opportunity to help.
Daisy shared heartfelt thanks for the repairs at a meeting with Foundation President, Tom Keith, and Foundation Vice President for Initiatives and Public Policy, Stephanie Cooper-Lewter. Through the meeting the Foundation learned that one of her children has asthma, and the conditions in their home was making it worse.
“Thank you so much. Our home had too much damage to live in,” Daisy said.
Through Home Works collaboration with PASOS, Home Works was able to extend aid to two designated families in need. Home Works was introduced to PASOs by the Foundation and directly worked with its employees to navigate how to repair the homes of these families. PASOs helped translate legal documents, coordinated all site visits and were on site during the three building days to help the homeowners and volunteers interact.
The Home Works effort brought community volunteers from all over the country to work on the homes. This not only aided the families but increased awareness to this population’s reality. The community can be proud that a gap was bridged between two organizations looking to make change in a needed community.