Willard moved into his home on McKoy Street in 2002. In 2006, he suffered a devastating and life-altering fall, which left him a quadriplegic. After several years in rehabilitation hospitals, he returned to his home, now wheelchair bound. He worked to make his home safe and handicapped accessible - a process made difficult by his quadriplegia. The roof of the home began to leak. Swinson had plumbing and roofing repairs done, but the roof still required additional repair, so it was partially covered with a tarp.
Willard survives on just veterans’ benefits and social security disability benefits. While he was trying to figure out how he could pay for the roof repairs on his limited income, Mr. Swinson was contacted by the City of Clinton in 2016 and instructed to vacate his home for code violations. Not knowing he could fight this, he moved out of his own home and moved into the first place he could find – subsidized housing for the elderly which is not handicapped accessible and for which he must pay rent which strained his very limited disability income.
Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Matthew struck, leaving Willard’s home beyond repair. Since then, Mr. Swinson has been desperately trying to get grants from a variety of government agencies to repair his home, with no success. He longs to move back to his home, the only asset he owns debt free. Regrettably, because he had moved out of his home in compliance with the City’s directive, he was later denied a Sampson County grant to repair his home because a pre-condition was that grant applicants reside in the homes they seek to repair. In 2017, the City sought to demolish the home, given its deterioration. Mr. Swinson has tried repeatedly to get his home repaired or to get grants to get it repaired to avoid that loss. He tried dutifully and attended all City Council meetings to attempt to defend his home, eventually the City ordered demolition, at his expense.
Henson Fuerst, a North Carolina law firm learned of Mr. Swinson's dilemma and wanted to help him save his home. Henson Fuerst reached out to multiple organizations trying to find a way to get Willard back into his home. We need the community to stand up and help.
Please donate today so we can move a veteran back into a safe home, his own home, on his own land. Please let’s all make sure that Mr. Swinson is returned to his home!
- Anne Fisher
- Tom Clark
- Katie Holland
- Elizabeth Dale Johnson
Organizer and beneficiary
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