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CHIP grant helps Sunbury man
1221 county CHIP
Youth Challenge Academy cadets pose for a photo while working on a Sunbury home. Work on the home was made possible through a Community Housing Improvement Program grant. - photo by Alena Parker
Just in time for the holidays, a Sunbury resident will move out of his structurally damaged home and into a new sturdy home, built from the ground up, thanks to Liberty County and its Board of Commissioners.
The county applied for and received a $294,000 Community Housing Improvement Program grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in 2006.
Commissioners put in an additional $50,000, and general donations were collected.
This home is the third of nine the county will rehabilitate and/or reconstruct.
Carmela Moore, director of the county’s Office of Housing and Redevelopment, said the grant was designed to assist low-income households and bring their homes up to safe living standards.
“Sometimes we don’t know how unsafe a home may be,” Moore said. “A lot of times, it many start off with a roof leak. If not repaired, it becomes a major issue.”
Doing most of the labor were cadets from Fort Stewart’s Youth Challenge Academy.
Bob Hughes, the YCA’s director, estimated 40 cadets participated in the effort to transform an empty lot into a new, three-bedroom home.
“We agreed to furnish the labor through our building and facilities maintenance class,” Hughes said, explaining the vocational trade class taught through Job Corps.
The minors were part of the whole process, from pouring the foundation to putting up the frame and roof.
Their work was under the supervision of licensed contractors.
Hughes said the cadets did more than learn a trade.
“The one thing the kids get from it, overall, is learning to give back to the community,” Hughes said. “We try to teach them that our communities are no stronger than those who live in them, and to try to give back.”
YCA has agreed to build three homes, and Moore appreciates having such willing volunteers.
 “It’s truly a team effort … that’s the beautiful thing about this program,” Moore said. “Sometimes we forget about those who already have their home but they need help, and they don’t have the disposable income to repair their homes.”
Other community partners in the projected included Coastal EMC and the United Way.
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