Hilton Head Island homeowners who qualify can get help with home repairs and sewer connections through two new programs the Town Council recently approved. The first is our Home Safety and Repair Program, and the second is our Sewer Connection Program.

Both are designed to help residents who lack the resources to pay for necessary repairs to make their homes safe and livable and to tap into the island’s public sewer system.

We were able to put these programs in place thanks to funds the Town received through federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This legislation provides funding to local governments to help them respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. During this public health crisis, we know there are residents who were unable to work and experienced job, food, and home insecurities. We felt these programs could help reduce the financial burden of making home repairs and improve their living conditions.

The Town received $5 million of ARPA funding. Of that, we earmarked $400,000 for resident home repairs and $200,000 for sewer connection grants. 

Through the Home Repair and Safety Program, the Town will provide grants to residents for repairs to make their homes safe and dry. They can also use grants to remove unsafe and uninhabited structures from their residential properties, and to assist with trimming and removing dead or diseased trees from their properties. 

To receive a grant, applicants must meet income guidelines and other criteria. We are partnering with the Lowcountry Council of Governments to verify income.

Having access to sewer is the best way for property owners to protect their family and community from pollution and property damage caused by failing septic tanks. For many years, property owners who qualified had access to grants for sewer connection through Project SAFE – Sewer Access for Everyone. 

The Town’s program will be a supplement to Project SAFE. Funds will be used to assist property owners living on the island who have not yet connected to existing sanitary sewer systems due to financial limitations. Through Project SAFE, Hilton Head Island PSD has connected 95% of customers’ homes in the north- and mid-island sections of Hilton Head to the public sewer system.

We hope those homeowners in need will use available resources to connect to sewer. For sewer connections, we are partnering with the Deep Well Project, which is promoting the program to its clients; the Lowcountry Council of Governments, which is verifying income; and Hilton Head Island PSD, which is installing the sewer connections. 

With implementation of these two programs, we hope to improve the quality of life for our residents. Missy Luick, a planner for the Town, will oversee both programs. For more information, contact her at MissyL@hiltonheadislandsc.gov.

John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov