Currently, the housing team is headed by Sharon Bethune, who has led the group in painting, repair, and even yard work for over a dozen houses since the start of the program four years ago. Bethune’s niece, Liz Thomas, who is also part of the group along with nine other participants such as Sharon’s husband Don Bethune, said that “I just like doing this kind of stuff. It gets me out, keeps me involved in things, gives me perspective. It keeps me from sitting on the couch watching cartoons all day.”
Sharon anticipates that they will be joined by church or student groups on the next project over the summer. She took pride in the wide variety of ages and personalities that come together to help, saying “We’re a community… Even though I don’t know as many people as I used to, people tend to know their neighbors here. I hope it stays that way. I want us to be able to continue to help a homeowner who needs help.”
As the GICH program ends its 3-year tenure, Sharon and the rest of the group hope to keep the work going independently of city hall. To do so, they plan on applying to become a 501-(c)3 nonprofit corporation, which will make any donations tax deductible. Bethune believes this will help them overcome their biggest obstacle: funding. “There’s a significant number of homes (in Garden City) that really need work,” she said, “but because of our limited funds, we’re not as capable of doing those type homes right now. You have to have the financial aid to be able to buy the materials. I think donations will pick up once we can get that (nonprofit) status.”
In the meantime, Sharon, her family, and the other generous volunteers will continue to help the citizens of their community. Just recently, on May 16th, they could be seen on Third Street painting the chipping features of a tiny house a new, pleasant royal blue, surrounded by fresh air, sunlight, and smiles.
If you are considering joining the Community Housing Team and getting involved in the Garden City volunteering scene, you should contact the Office of the City Manager for details and instructions. And if you are looking for Savannah homes for sale, this is a prime location to search for them.