Statesville Ella Sides turned to I-CARE for help with her roof.


Ella Sides has lived in her Statesville home since the 1960s.

When she found out her roof was damaged and missing some shingles, she knew she wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of replacing it.

“I love living in the country, but sometimes it feels like everything is falling apart,” she said.

Sides, who is 89, is among more than a half dozen local residents recently selected to have a new roof installed for free thanks to a program offered by I-CARE Inc. of Iredell County.

“It’s beautiful and I’m so happy with it,” she said of her new roof. “I could almost cry.”

Sides said her home is her happy place. It’s the place where she and her late husband raised their children and it holds many memories from the last 50-plus years.

While she’s no longer able to garden like she did when she was younger, she has a potted onion plant, marigold flowers and other thriving plants that she tends to outside.

Shelton Moore, Family Support Services director for I-CARE, said that the nonprofit received a $132,000 grant from the N.C. Housing Finance Agency to pay for roof repairs for qualified homeowners.

“It’s important for homes to have new roofs because it serves as primary installation, protection, keeps the home safe for the family and keeps them dry from the elements,” Moore said. “A good roof is key for your home.”

The program launched last October with roof replacements beginning in January.

“The goal is to alleviate housing conditions that pose an imminent threat to the health and safety of low-income homeowners with special needs,” Moore explained.

Beneficiaries of the program must have a low household income. Elderly and disabled residents, along with veterans and large families, were targeted in the grant.

Statesville resident Collis Scott, 74, bought his house in 1981.

Collis Scott had water damage the inside of his kitchen and breaker box. His roof was replaced and now Habitat for Humanity is helping with other repairs.

“A storm from a few years back badly damaged my roof. I noticed that in the corner of the kitchen — water just started dripping in there. It also came down on my breaker box and I had to get that rewired,” he said.

“I was wondering what I was going to do. I can’t afford to buy another house,” he added.

The new roof has helped him get unstuck. Over the years he has struggled with accumulating too many possessions, including sentimental items and others that were inherited. With the new roof in place, he’s ready to get organized and declutter his home.

“I’m just overjoyed with my roof and everything else is starting to come together for me,” he said. “I can walk through the house and not feel rain drops.”

Scott said that Habitat for Humanity also helped him by pressure washing his house and rebuilding the front and back area.

“I feel like my house is getting a complete makeover,” he said.

William Stevenson had water damage his bedroom and bathroom. Having a new roof is a blessing, he said.

Statesville native William Stevenson, 60, said that there’s no better feeling than owning your home, but it’s not always easy.

“About eight years ago, my roof started depleting really bad. It started leaking into my bedroom and into my bathroom to where when it rained really hard, I had to put buckets down to catch water. The roof had gotten to the point that it was almost destroyed,” he said.

“I got in touch with these good people. Sometimes you’ve got to wait on God to answer your prayers. He does things in his time and not on your time. He sent these angels right here to me. They gave me a blessing of a brand-new roof,” Stevenson said.

He said that his grandparents use to live on the land behind his home and the house he grew up in is located through the woods.

“All of this area is home to me. It’s what I’ve known my whole life,” he said.

Stevenson owned his own limo service for 25 years. After becoming disabled, he was unable to work. That led him to needing financial help and also help with maintaining his home.

“I’ve known I-CARE since I was a boy. They have never wavered on being able to help in this community. There are so many people who have relied on I-CARE,” he said.

I-CARE is true to their name and that they really do care for people who need help the most, Stevenson added.