Local News

Home Renovated For Katrina Evacuees Goes Unclaimed

Posted December 20, 2005 5:51 a.m. EST

— With many Hurricane Katrina evacuees still looking for permanent places to live, a Fayetteville church says it cannot find anyone to move into a house that it has ready to donate.

Piney Grove Freewill Baptist Church on Slocumb Road renovated the house. Church members rounded up furniture, refinished floors, and added personal touches.

"(We're) working to put somebody in it," said one church member. "That's why we're working so hard, to get one of those families here."

Church members thought that was the hard part and finding a family would be easy. They were wrong. They found a family, but they moved away. Church members have been looking for a replacement ever since.

"It was a big heartbreak," said pastor Kirby Haire. "I mean, I just almost sat in my office and cried."

Rusty Long runs a non-profit group that's helping the families find homes. He said the challenge involves children.

"Once they got into a school system, once they got them into a school, then that really complicated us helping them find free housing," said Long.

Families don't want to uproot children twice, even for a house. Still, church members keep hope alive. They want to give some family a home for the holidays.

"We just want to see a family in here so we can fulfill what they project was about," said Haire.

Church members spent three months remodeling the house. It has three bedrooms, utilities, and cable television.