Hilton Head, SC (WSAV) – A workforce shortage continues to plague Hilton Head Island.
For those living on minimum wage it is tough to find a job there. And that is driving many to other areas to find a place to work.
It’s been six years since Jessie Ramirez got the news that homeownership would become a reality and she still fights back tears talking about the joy it brings her.
“We are low income, so it’s hard,” Ramirez said.
A former Hilton Head restaurant worker who now works as a Catholic school custodian, she was among those who want live where they work but struggle to pay for it.
“The mortgages are very expensive on Hilton Head,” she said.
Many of her friends live in Hardeeville and Ridgeland and make the drive to work on the island.
But because of Hilton Head Habitat for Humanity- she gets to raise her children just a couple miles from her job.
“I say ‘thank you- thank you God,’ she said. “I tell you it’s a gift from him.”
Hilton Head Habitat for Humanity’s Director Pat Wirth never gets used to the toughest part of her job….having to tell people there’s just not enough to go around.
“There were 175 families that took applications. We only had 10 openings,” Wirth remembered of an informational meeting.
She believes the affordable housing shortage there is a crisis but that Habitat is bringing relief.
“Several years ago the Town of Hilton Head gave us 14 acres of land and said build some houses- some affordable housing -and Hilton Head needs it so badly.”
Wirth said they cannot build the homes fast enough and they’re always looking for more volunteers to make it happen.
Right now they are working on a two-phase neighborhood called “The Glen” that has 32 homes. The community is located off Mathews Drive.