Darius Rucker helping build homes in Joppa Way neighborhood

Darius Rucker speaks with future homeowner Kenya (Source: Live 5)
Darius Rucker speaks with future homeowner Kenya (Source: Live 5)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston's Darius Rucker is back in the Lowcountry after his Country Music Association Awards performance to help build homes in a North Charleston neighborhood.

Exterior building company, Ply Gem, along with Rucker and Habitat for Humanity are helping build 15 homes in the Joppa Way section of North Charleston. The area is near South Aviation Avenue, by the Charleston International Airport.

The build is part of a nationwide "Home For Good" project focused on helping families achieve their dream of owning an affordable home.

"The prices in Charleston are going crazy," Rucker said. "Even during the recession, Charleston was one of those places that kind of stayed above water. And now everybody knows about this great city and everybody wants to move here and spend this crazy amount of money for homes and stuff like that. I want everyone to be able to live here. I want people to have places they can afford to live."

Since 2016 more than 450 homes have been built or renovated in more than 70 cities across the United States, according to Ply Gem's website.

It's a project that Rucker serves as an ambassador.

"Because he's been our ambassador for the last 12 months we're going to continue to work with Darius," said Vicki Frye, Director of Corporate Marketing for Ply Gem. "It's his hometown too, so it's even better to have everything colliding in such a great way."

The home worked on Friday afternoon will soon belong to a woman named Kenya. She had the chance to talk with Rucker.

"Meeting Kenya who went to my rival high school, and talking to her and everything, just feels great to be part of all this," Rucker said. "She just has a great story, talking about her kids and how her son now has his own room. It was just a beautiful conversation and I'm so happy for her."

Kenya has put plenty of her own time into her house, but also more than 500 hours into building other homes for Habitat for Humanity.

"I think that gives you more of an appreciation for what's happening here with Habitat," Rucker said. "She's got such a great story."

"Having [Darius] come work alongside Kenya is something that shows beyond the affordable housing side," said Nancy Lee, Director of Development with Charleston Habitat for Humanity. "How Habitat is all about community and bringing so many different people together."

The home on Sea Watch Lane in the Joppa neighborhood has taken about six months to build, with more than 1,000 volunteers. Lee said the house will be a home for the holidays.

"You should give during the holiday season," Rucker said. "What a better time to give."

"You can find things you're actually really enjoy doing," said Gabriel Foster, a volunteer and student at The Citadel. "If helping build a house is something you don't really want to do, there's a little area for everybody to help out the community."

A total of 15 houses will be built by Ply Gem and Habitat for Humanity in the neighborhood.

Kenya's home is number nine.

While the homes are built for people who apply to Habitat for Humanity, homeowners will take over the mortgage once they move in.

"It's not like they're just getting the house," Rucker said. "I think that's another way of helping people. Getting them affordable mortgages and help them feel good about themselves."

Kenya took financial management and home buying classes in order to be approved for the home by Habitat for Humanity.

According to the project website, several homes were built in South Carolina in 2016. Those homes are in Greenville, Aiken, Goose Creek and Mt. Pleasant. Based on the map, homes were also built in Rock Hill this year.

Copyright 2017 WCSC. All rights reserved.