ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (EMHE) is a wonderful weekly show that takes troubled families and rebuilds their lives via their homes.
I was excited when I heard they'd be in the Atlanta area in January of '05, making over a home in Clayton County.
EMHE reconstructed a home in a quiet subdivision located at 5489 Ahyoka Drive for Patricia and Milton Harper. Materials and labor were donated as a crew of 1,800 people worked on the house non-stop for six days. The family had been living in the home that suffered a disgustingly faulty septic system.
This was the larges house that EMHE had ever built. They demolished the old home and built a 5,500 square foot palace for the Milton family. It cost $450K to build. I'm talking extravagant fireplaces, music room, professional landscaping, I mean it had a solarium for goodness sake. It is just beautiful.
Check out the video. (I love how they say the Harper's need a smaller home).
On top of all that, the Milton family was given over $200K in contributions for scholarships for the kids, and a home maintenance fund that would help pay all the taxes on the home. You couldn't have asked for more.
But they did.
Patricia and Milton Harper tried their hand at owning their own business. They put the $450K home up as collateral and took out a loan. They wanted to start a construction business. It failed. They can't pay up. The house is on the foreclosure list.
I don't know what happened to all the tax money they were given for the home, but it seems to me they had to have spent over a half million dollars in just three short years.
The family is refusing interview requests, and their home will be auctioned off on August 5th.
A representative of ABC offered an e-mail statement:
"'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' advises each family to consult a financial planner after they receive their new home. Ultimately, financial matters are personal, and we work to respect the privacy of the families."
I'm thinking they should have etched that into the walls. *sigh*