He has earned his home

Published 11:41 am Thursday, February 24, 2011

John Spencer put his life on the line for his country in the European Theater during World War II.

When the Bath-area resident returned to the United States, he took up the plumbing trade, working in that trade for the majority of his adult life.

Now, the 88-year-old Spencer and his wife, Juanita, are living in a house that is literally on the verge of collapse.

The floors are rotting, the walls are leaning and, with so much outside air pouring in, the heating bills are soaring, Juanita Spencer related.

The Spencers have lived in their home since 1964, and, as John Spencer pointed out, the couple is proud of their dwelling, and understandably so č because it’s home, because it’s theirs.

But the Spencers need help, and there is a program that can provide that help.

That program is the Community Development Block Grant program, a state-federal undertaking administered locally by Beaufort County government and municipalities.

The office of Gov. Beverly Perdue recently announced that the county and the Town of Belhaven each had won $500,000 in CDBGs through a competitive application process.

The town and county will use this money to demolish existing homes and rebuild new ones in their places, and this money likely will be used to assist the Spencers, two of a handful of homeowners on the county’s CDBG list.

These new homes will not be mansions by anyone’s standards.

Program administrators have said the new homes will be constructed to high standards of energy efficiency and affordability. These homes won’t be equipped with top-of-the-line materials, but they will be safe, above minimum standards and adequate to meet the needs of the occupants.

In plain English, the CDBGs will bring up property values and help low-income people and seniors, like the Spencers.

And we can’t think of a much better use of government funds.

People who deride CDBGs as government waste don’t know what they’re talking about. There may be examples of waste in this program, but that has nothing to do with the Spencers.

People who think CDBGs represent an abuse of taxpayers’ funds should meet the Spencers č should look this hard-working, God-fearing pair in their eyes and try to understand their circumstances.

The Spencers have labored all their lives to provide a good home for themselves and their family.

The Spencers are sterling examples of the good work CDBGs can do, and have done for decades.

We thank the Spencers for their dedication to their country and their community.

And we thank the people who make the CDBG program a workable solution to housing issues.

Good works don’t come better than this housing program, and we all could use a little good-works news right now.