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U.S. House approves 1.6M to remove vacant South Sumter homes; Senate approval needed

Cost has been one of the biggest challenges, but the county could soon get a boost.

SUMTER, S.C. — Josephine Young has lived in Sumter's Greater Turkey Creek community for more than a decade.

It's a place her family also called home.

“…we used to run up and down the street playing with one another when we came to visit my grandparents," Young said.

Now, as neighborhood vice president, she's working to bring the community back to what it once was.

RELATED: Sumter residents want dilapidated homes removed, as city seeks additional funds

“...removing the old dilapidated houses and trying to clean up some of the lots that have been grown up," Young said.

According to Sumter County Spokesman Joe Perry, 12 dilapidated homes have already been removed from her community through grant funding. 10 more could be removed as early as next month.

The cost has been one of the biggest challenges, but the county could soon get a boost.

The U.S. House approved $1.6 million to go towards the removal of 220 South Sumter homes. Senate approval is still needed.

It's one of nine community funding requests advocated for by Sixth District Congressman James Clyburn.

“This legislation will enable the federal government to better serve the American people. This bill makes significant investments in low-income and middle-class communities that have been devastated in the last year and will create jobs and economic opportunity,” Congressman Clyburn said in a statement, “I am pleased that nine of my community project funding requests were included in this legislation that will invest in critical priorities while targeting many of those investments in persistent poverty communities. These projects are essential to the communities I serve, and I will keep fighting to get them enacted into law.”

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If approved by the Senate, Perry said it could be a "big win" for the Gamecock City.

"We applied for this along with the City of Sumter, knowing that Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments also is a valued partner in this initiative," Perry said. "It’s about neighborhood beautification. These dilapidated homes are a public health nuisance…. If we’re able to remove these homes, clean out neighborhoods. It’s a huge win for all of us.”

For Young, it would mean coming a step closer to a cleaner community where more investment is possible.

"If somebody wants to come and invest, maybe they will want to maybe purchase and invest and rebuild," Young said.

She said she's looking forward to the next 10 homes being removed in the months ahead.

RELATED: Roughly $4.8 million awarded to Sumter to fix flooding issues, mayor says