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Georgetown Woman Receives New Home; Money Needed For Furniture
- Dec 18, 2018 -

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Bertha Drayton plans to be home for Christmas.

And this year, she and her son Surmander will be celebrating the holidays in their new home on the west end of Emanuel Street in Georgetown. The Draytons are recipients of the home through the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office in partnership with the Habitat of Humanity of Georgetown.

The house, with two bedrooms and a full bath, was built on the same site as Drayton's previous home, built by her parents in 1950 and where she's lived for more than 40 years of her life. 

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"It feels great," Drayton said about being under a new roof. The home is paid for through a grant using federal funds. There is no cost to Drayton and no mortgage.

The previous house had become so run down over the years due to neglect and storm damage that the city was forced to condemn it. The Draytons had to move in with relatives. Bertha, who is 71, said she's extremely thankful to her oldest daughter, Maria, who they stayed with during the construction process.

Work began in September and was done by members of Habitat and its volunteers. But building was delayed multiple times due to Hurricane Florence and the threat of flooding following the storm. Drayton received the keys to the home this month. 

"God had to send them. They couldn't do it on their own," Drayton said about all the people who've helped her during this process. 

 The grant money covers the cost of the home and appliances, but it does not pay to furnish the home.

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Two brothers, Martin and Donald Gilliard, are working to raise money to pay for the furniture. They've known Bertha for years as she's a friend of their mother.

The furniture will come from Badcock Home Furniture in Georgetown. An account for Drayton has been set up with the store and donations can be made through cash, check, debit or credit.

The Gilliards -- with assistance from their siblings Tina and Byron -- are hoping to raise $5,000: $3,400 for furniture and $1,600 to give the Draytons a proper Christmas.

"We're just doing what (God) asked us to do," Martin said. "We want to try to do good for someone else."

Martin said he was initially working to have a home built for the Draytons before he found out one was already in the works. 

For years, dilapidated housing has been a problem in Georgetown's West End. Donald Gilliard said the Drayton's situation is a sign that things can change for the better.   

"We've really got some housing issues" in the West End, he said. "Hopefully, this is a beginning, a start, and will give people some hope."


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