Edwards To Visit Poverty-Stricken York County Road
ROCK HILL, S.C. —
A neighborhood where running water and working toilets are luxuries is preparing for a visit from a presidential candidate.
About a hundred people on Blackmon Road outside Rock Hill live in extreme poverty. Many homes have no running water, and local churches have donated porta-johns so residents can use the bathroom.
Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards will walk the streets of the BlackmonRroad community Friday afternoon. He'll meet people there and talk about the importance of job training to get people out of poverty.
Eva Mae Whitlock has to walk to her mother's house to get water from a well. She said this is a life she's used to, but seeing Edwards here will make a difference.
"He might get things going, get things pushed a little faster, for the people back here in this community," she said.
It was just this year that a community center in the neighborhood called A Place For Hope finally got sewer and water lines. Now some residents carry jugs there,and fill them up from a hose to have clean drinking water.
Karen McKernan runs the center.
"In the same York County where we have Tega Cay with yachts on the lake, we have people living without basic sewer and septic systems, where children have to go outside to an outhouse," she said.
Since 2000, volunteers and local churches have helped clean up the area once known as Trash Pile Road. People once lived in rusted school buses and shacks that were close to falling down. Now most of those makeshift homes have been demolished or hauled away.
The community center provides some education and job training for residents, but grant money to extend basic services further has been hard to come by. Those on Blackmon Road don't expect much help anymore, but they never expected to see a presidential hopeful at their door either.
Hopi Whitlock said she's looking forward to meeting Edwards.
"I'm going to shake his hand and hope he gets the job," she said.