South Memphis elderly woman whose home is falling apart is pleading for help

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – For years, 81-year old Lillian Carr Foster has been a caregiver for others. Now, she is in need of care from the community.

“If I was still able to work, I’d be working to help my own self,” said Foster. 

Foster’s parents purchased the home on Ridgeway Street in South Memphis in 1958. For the past decade, she’s been having problem mainly with the roof. 

“In 2013, with all that tornadoes everywhere, it rained, and the roof caved in, started caving,” said Foster.

She said tree branches, some from an empty lot next door, also added to the problem, weakening the roof more. 

Then early this year, Foster reached out to Habitat for Humanity for help. 

“I went out to Habitat and then that’s when she said there was too much damage. They didn’t have enough money.”

Foster says in May, another tree in that lot fell in her backyard, bringing down wires which ultimately took the back roof down completely. 

She learned Shelby County owned the lot and contacted Councilman-Elect JB Smiley.

“When you have situations like these, where you’re talking about a house in one of the poorest zip codes in the state of Tennessee, and the lady who owns the home is of limited means,” said Smiley, Councilman-Elect Super District 8 Position 1.

Local 24 News spoke with the Shelby County Landbank. They said they acquired the lot in 2015 but sold it last month. 

So, Foster and Smiley are turning to the community for help. 

“I’d just be grateful for whatever somebody did,” said Foster who does not want to leave her family home. “I can’t afford to go nowhere and pay $500, $600 rent. I just need somebody to come in and repair my home. Where I can bring my grandchildren to see me? If I was still able to work, I’d be working to help my own self.” 

Foster’s grandson has been making minor repairs to the home. He said Memphis Light, Gas, and Water came to disconnect the wire in order to break up the tree. Then, they reconnected it.

“We need community support, people in our community who like to give or will support someone who is in need,” said Smiley.

If you can help, email Local 24 News reporter Brittani Moncrease at so she can contact Foster.

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