Mary is more accustomed to helping others than being helped. So she insisted on doing the painting when WARM volunteers repaired her siding.
At a networking event in November, I met a lady who teaches in the New Hanover County school system.
When she saw WARM’s logo on my name tag, she hugged me!
WARM had repaired the roof on her mother’s house a few months earlier. Near tears, she talked about how stressful it was to see water coming through the ceiling in her mother’s kitchen and around the light fixture. She wondered how the family would ever save enough for a $4,000 roof replacement. When her mother’s WARM application was approved, it was the answer to their prayers.
What a privilege to literally keep a roof over the head of a woman who raised a teacher! These are moments I talk about on Facebook with the hashtag #ilovemyjob
Her story also reminded me of something important about our mission. WARM does more than make repairs and accessibility improvements for those who have run into a barrier to self-sufficiency. Our donors and volunteers preserve housing for people that our community relies on for critical services.
WARM homeowners include health care assistants, a school bus driver, receptionists, administrative assistants, a part-time librarian, restaurant employees, teaching assistants, retail associates, a foster mom, custodians, a seamstress and retirement community workers.
WARM also does right by those who can no longer serve: military veterans, retired pastors and teachers, and those whose worlds have been rocked by a disability.
Can you imagine our community without them? They are very important people (VIPs) to our economy! Imagine if they could no longer afford to live here.
Who would fill the void in our favorite stores, our children’s schools and our hospitals?
How would we fill the entry level positions in our companies? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 94.6 percent of jobs added from 2018 to 2024 will be in the service sector. If you are not experiencing a smaller pool of quality candidates for these positions, you may soon!
The shortage of homes affordable to low-wage workers has been well-documented in the local media and the recent publication of recommendations
from the Joint City of Wilmington/New Hanover County Workforce and Affordable Housing Ad Hoc Committee.
With any kind of shortage, the first – and most efficient – step to building supply is to preserve what you already have.
WARM donors and volunteers do that every day. I invite you to join us to help ensure the desperately needed supply of homes for VIPs!
Combining her professional experience in the Cape Fear region’s housing and real estate for-profit sector and volunteer experience with disaster recovery and housing-related nonprofits, JC Lyle (formerly Skane) was hired in 2009 to serve as the executive director of Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM). WARM is a grassroots nonprofit whose mission is to make homes safer by completing urgent repairs, accessibility upgrades and storm damage. Under her leadership, WARM has steadily grown from serving 44 households in 2008 to 155 households in 2016. Her public recognition includes Wilma Magazine's 2012 Woman to Watch in the Nonprofit Category, a 2014 Coastal Entrepreneur Award in the Nonprofit Category, given by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and UNC Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and invitations to speak at NC Center for Nonprofits Conference and NC Affordable Housing Conference. She will graduate in May with her Master of Business Administration at UNC-Wilmington.