Free help fixing your home

April 2, 2009 9:00:00 PM PDT
This may sound a little crazy but there's a group in the Triangle dying to help someone fix up their home, for free! Strangely, however, they can't find anyone to help! There's something about ABC's hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that has inspired Alice Ligon of Cary. She and her friend would watch the show, then get together for lunch every Monday and talk about it.

"We can do that," Alice told me, smiling. So they did.

They created the nonprofit "Triangle Homeworks".

The organization has completed about ten projects since they began five years ago. They've done everything from a complete tear-down, which Ligon says they swore they'd never do, to adding a handicap ramp to someone's house.

Their goal is to help people make their homes habitable and safe.

Recently they helped Maude Williams and her family in Apex. She and her family, including a daughter with special needs, were all allergic to the carpet in their new Apex home.

Triangle Homeworks' volunteers and sponsors made it possible to remove all the carpet, lay down new flooring and do other necessary projects around the house, for free!

"It's still surreal to me," Williams said, "I still walk around upstairs and look and say. Ooh no carpets! It's still very exciting."

You'd think that Triangle Homeworks would be overflowing with projects, but surprisingly they're not!

Ligon says most of their recipients find them, not the reverse. Right now, no one is finding them.

Ligon is an appraiser by trade and these days she sees foreclosures at least twice a week. Her hope now, and maybe it's a high hope, is to help someone save their home.

"I think the difference quite honestly is hope. You know most people going into foreclosure have known for at least three to six months. Sometimes," Ligon says, "they just give up and the house will fall into disrepair. If we can go in, and with all of our auxiliary services, we might just be able to help them keep their house."

Before you contact Triangle Homeworks to help you, you should know there is a stringent application process. First, you must own your home, no renters. There is a background check, including a criminal one, and in the end, the entire Triangle Homeworks' board has to agree on the project.

Ligon says, "It's not just a slam dunk, but if you're in need and it's a valid need, we're there!"

If you're interested, or know someone who needs help, you can go to www.Trianglehomeworks.org.


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