AP NEWS

News of new home brings tears of joy to Florence mother

August 9, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – The city of Florence’s partnership with the Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity is paying off for one Florence woman.

On Wednesday evening, Greater Florence Habitat for Humanity executive director Debbie Edwards, her staff, and the board of the organization surprised India McLellan with news that the organization will be building a five-bedroom home for McLellan and her four children at 402 Railroad Ave.

The lot on Railroad Avenue is on a list of properties that the city may convey to the organization under an ordinance passed by the city council in June.

McLellan’s four children are Ionna, Maliki, Karmen, and Kobe. All are between the ages of 4 and 13.

Edwards said that she and her staff told McLellan to come to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on Celebration Boulevard to answer some final questions on the application McLellan submitted last December.

After one question about her family’s application, Edwards asked McLellan if she was ready for the organization to start building a home for her.

“I didn’t take it [the news of her new home] in as quick as she said it,” McLellan said. “I had to think about. It was awesome – so awesome.”

McLellan started to cry a few minutes after Edwards asked her about building her a new home.

“We’re going to be building a five-bedroom home,” Edwards said. “The space is constructive—very strong. And then, where they’re presently living due to storms from the 1,000 year flood [in 2015] and then [Hurricane] Matthew [in 2016] and all that, water continues to come in and there’s mold and mildew. We know that from the eyes that our family service committee. They do home visits. They see exactly what’s going on in these houses for these families.”

Edwards added that a bigger house with better air quality would be nice for the family.

Funding for the new home is being provided by Assurant, a specialty property company that works with mortgage lenders.

“We’re excited for you,” Deb Davis of Assurant said. “Assurant believes in Habitat for Humanity not just here in Florence but across the country. It really blends well with what Assurant is all about in protecting what matters most. And what could matter more than a home? And so it is with great pride and it’s an honor for us to be part of this.”

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