The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday December 6th

Fix-A-Home transforms Northside home

Her house was fitted with a new bedroom, four new beds, new floors, joists, appliances, cabinets, doors, fresh paint and more — all completed within a week by the members of the Fix-A-Home project.

Fix-A-Home is a branch of the Greater Chapel Hill Association of REALTORS, dedicated to renovating a home of a Chapel Hill or Carborro resident every year — completely cost-free.

“We started last Thursday. And, you know, you watch the TV shows right? This is real,” said Anne Hoole, co-chairperson of Fix-A-Home.

Francis, her goddaughter Anita Wilson and Wilson’s two kids, Lillie, 9, and Elijah, 8, had been staying in a donated hotel room during the renovations. They had not seen any of the improvements until Friday.

Francis arrived with Lillie and Elijah. The children ran up the steps first and were stopped in the doorway by Hoole.

“Can you walk quietly to your room?” Hoole said to Elijah and Lillie.

They walked slowly into their kitchen and looked around. “I don’t know where it is,” Lillie said with a smile.

Elijah and Lillie ran in opposite directions down the hallway and found their rooms. Gasps, squeals and laughter ensued as Francis approached the threshold.

“Wow — this is beautiful. A new house!” Francis said. She took her first steps into the newly renovated house.

“Oh, it’s beautiful,” she said.

Wilson was unable to attend the revealing due to work, but when asked what she would think when she saw the house, Elijah replied with a quick, “Good,” before racing off with a new red blanket tied to his back as a cape.

“It’s impossible,” Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said. “Someone came in here with a magic wand, or there was some spell casting or something, to make this happen.”

With the extensive work done on the home, it was completely unrecognizable.

“It’s difficult to describe, it really is amazing that people in our community live like that,” said Jackie Tanner, co-chairperson of Fix-A-Home. “You know, people who work and are on fixed incomes.”

Francis laughed in both disbelief and excitement..

“I’m very happy and very appreciative,” she said. “I’m sorry, I’m limited in my vocabulary right now.”

Francis applied for the program last year and was accepted early this year.

“She’s real Chapel Hill,” Kleinschmidt said. “When her mom was in need, she came and took care of her, and she then got this place and, as modest as it is, she opened it up to others. That kind of generous spirit deserves some generosity in return.”



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