Healing Properties was started in 1999 and began by repairing homes for needy families, relying only on community donations. As the organization's founder, Rev. Debra Quilling Smith had a vision to create a housing program incorporated to assist the disabled homeless and their families. She has served as a volunteer Executive Director since the inception of this 501c3 non-profit organization, and has been a member of Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless since 2001. Rev. Quilling Smith has over 30 years’ experience working with housing for the homeless, 15 + years over the life of Healing Properties, and leadership of various mission endeavors designed to improve housing for those living in inadequate housing. Her commitment to the disabled homeless became even more focused when a close family member was diagnosed with mental illness and suffered the loss and distress associated with drug addiction, living homeless in the Columbia area for over 2 years
"Our mission is to help the disabled homeless,"
In 2002, upon receiving a $493,500 HUD grant, the group shifted its focus from repairing homes for needy families to buying and renovating old or condemned houses for the homeless, and has made it its mission to provide the homeless affordable housing on their way to self-sufficiency. Volunteers from churches and other organizations have done most of the actual work on these homes. At this time, Healing Properties Inc. owns 37 units of housing throughout Richland County.