American Rescue Plan Act funds should go toward helping homeowners in need
The Family Unit Inc., represented by Dr. Joseph C. Willams and I, have made several "house calls" recently to homes of homeowners who are low- to moderate-income residents of the City of Sumter and of Sumter County, South Carolina, who are having substantial carpentry, electrical, plumbing and roofing problems.
These aforementioned "house calls" show a direct correlation between the poor living conditions of people and the disease processes that we regularly treat in the patients of the Family Unit Inc.'s Free Medical Clinic and among low- to moderate-income residents of the City of Sumter, Sumter County, S.C., and of other neighboring counties.
We have encouraged the aforementioned homeowners to contact their representatives that are on the City of Sumter and Sumter County Councils along with contacting ALL of the council persons in order to encourage them to allocate a significant amount of the American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the home repairs that these individuals are in desperate need of.
The Family Unit Inc. has taken the initiative to use its own funds for the immediate repair of a few of these homes in that they had roofs that are leaking so badly that some of the ceilings have collapsed and the floors are at the brink of caving in. In these same homes, the electrical wiring is faulty and emitted sparks of fire.
It is important to mention here that The Family Unit Inc.'s nonprofit, charitable organization interceded at a time when the aforementioned low- to moderate-income homeowners had sought help from the City of Sumter's Community Development Block Grant Program, the Sumter United Ministries, the South Sumter Resource Center, The Santee Lynches Council of Governments, the Wateree Community Agency and from local churches, all to no avail.
There is an emergency situation that exists in the homes of many families in the City of Sumter and in Sumter County, South Carolina, that must be attended to on an urgent basis.
The Family Unit Inc. is most appreciative of the fact that the City of Sumter has allocated funding for the repair/replacement of the roofs of 20 mobile homes that are older than 20 years old and are occupied by their owners. This action, taken by the City of Sumter, has been a definite positive move in the right direction and will help to improve the living conditions and well-being of the low- to moderate-income homeowners who reside in their homes.
More funding from the Community Development Block Grant Program is still sorely needed to provide coverage for the repairs mentioned earlier in this correspondence.
The Family Unit Inc. is appreciative of the fact that the Sumter County Administration has allocated and/or earmarked American Rescue Plan Act funds that are to be distributed to nonprofit organizations that have a well-known and proven track record of helping low- to moderate-income families that reside in blighted communities and are at high risk of suffering from cancer, chronic lung disease, the coronavirus pandemic, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension, impoverishment, stroke and other diseases associated with high morbidity and mortality.
It is important that the American Rescue Plan Act funds that the Sumter County Council proposes for distribution to low- to moderate-income homeowners who live in their homes be distributed as soon as possible in order to help alleviate some of the despair and suffering that the said individuals and their families are enduring on a constant basis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
BRENDA C. WILLIAMS, M.D.
The Family Unit Inc., a 501(c)(3), nonprofit, charitable organization
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