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Nov 5, 2021

Too Good To Be True

Sponsored Content provided by JC Lyle - Executive Director, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry

 
FREE HOME REPAIRS.

We put that message on WARM vehicles, yard signs, billboards, resource fair materials, letters to partner agencies, and any other place that gives us the opportunity to reach those who need WARM services.

WARM has had a three-digit waiting list for over two decades. We review over 300 applications every year. But not everyone who needs help will seek it. Some see the sign and think it is too good to be true.
Sometimes, there is more to the story.
 
The homeowner was burned before.
Sadly, many people have been preyed upon by con artists, especially after hurricanes. Ms. Ellen had a difficult time trusting anyone after a “roofer” asked for an advance of $3,000 for materials, and never came back. She used money from her FEMA award, and he didn’t give her a receipt. Later she found out FEMA requires documentation for every dollar spent to prevent misuse of funds. Without the documentation, homeowners may not qualify for other types of aid.

Referred by her neighbor, Ms. Ellen applied but was not sure WARM would follow through on its promises. Our journey with her included earning her trust so we could repair her home and helping her navigate the system so she could regain her good standing with FEMA.
 
The homeowner is uncomfortable getting something for free.
WARM homeowners purchased their homes on their own. They believe hard work and good choices are rewarded. They may be uncomfortable receiving the help they didn’t earn.

We see pride like this in many military veterans. Gary, an Army vet in his late 70’s, spent a good portion of his life serving others. Hesitant to be helped himself at first, Gary insisted on working with the volunteers to install the new siding on his mobile home. He is pictured here with Marine volunteers from Camp Lejeune.
 
The homeowner is not in a position to receive help.
Some homeowners turn away help because it isn’t the right time for them. Having strangers come into their home to pull up flooring or disturb the only bathroom for a few days can be disruptive. Ms. Mary was undergoing cancer treatments when she came to the top of our waitlist. We desperately wanted to repair her siding, floors, wheelchair ramp, and bathroom so that she could recover in a safer, healthier home.

Sadly, Ms. Mary called before we started and asked us not to move forward; she was overwhelmed with all that was going on in her life. We won’t forget about her and hope to return one day when she feels strong enough.
 
The homeowner can’t believe someone would help them.
Many people feel deserted by their families and/or their communities. They may have asked for help from others who failed to follow through. Some may have stayed on our waitlist for months until we secured the appropriate funding and volunteers to complete their work. Their disappointments caused them to lose hope. Joanne was one of them.

After repairing her roof, volunteers made Joanne’s bathroom more accessible with grab bars and an ADA toilet. On the last day of her rebuild, a WARM staff member and a volunteer started to clean up. They asked her to come look at the bathroom before they left to make sure she was happy with the work. When she saw her safer bathroom, she started to tear up.

“You have been an answer to my prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I waited so long for this. I didn’t know I was worthy of this kind of help.”

This is at the heart of why I love my job so much.

FREE HOME REPAIRS.
It really does sound too good to be true. If there is a hidden agenda, it is the desire to lift up those around us knowing our efforts will not only restore their hope and faith – but restore our own in the process.



JC Lyle has served as WARM’s Executive Director since January 2009. Under her leadership, WARM's annual revenue and productivity have more than quadrupled. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Lyle worked at McKim & Creed on subdivision design, rezoning and permitting throughout coastal North Carolina. Lyle earned her Master of Business Administration from UNCW's Cameron School of Business and has presented workshops on affordable housing issues and nonprofit management at state-level conferences. Lyle serves on the Planning Commission for the City of Wilmington and the North Carolina Housing Partnership, the board that oversees the state's housing trust fund. In 2012, Lyle was named Wilma Magazine's first Woman to Watch in the Nonprofit Category. In 2014, she accepted WARM's Coastal Entrepreneur Award in the Nonprofit Category, given by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In 2018, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Cape Fear Chapter named her Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year. 
 
 
 

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