Our Executive Director...
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.
Rev. Quilling Smith is a United Methodist pastor of 40 years, serving 38 of these years in the state of South Carolina, with many of her years dedicated to addressing the needs of the marginalized. She has often said, "Any one of us, at any time can experience homelessness, or any one of our family members could be that person that we pass on the street."
"Any one of us, at any time can experience homelessness,..."
Persons are referred to the program through agencies, churches or by direct contact with Healing Properties. This includes the physically or mentally disabled, as well as people with drug or alcohol addictions. Housing is open to single individuals (men or women) and to individuals and their immediate families. While other programs restrict the amount of time the homeless can remain in their program, Healing Properties does not.
Rev. Quilling Smith graduated with a BA from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, with a dual Masters degree from Yale Divinity School and Yale School of Music and is currently appointed as Senior Pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Rock Hill, SC. She works closely with both York County and Richland County with concerns related to poverty and the eradication of homelessness, and encourages others, including her church membership of over 2,000 to volunteer in assisting the homeless and disabled homeless, as well.