(Raleigh, N.C.) – “It’s like getting a birthday present,” Janice McAdams said after State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, made a check presentation to the SECU Family House in Chapel Hill.
“It was $1,140 we did not anticipate, and as a nonprofit that relies on donations and house guest income that is important to us,” said McAdams, executive director of the facility, which has served families of hospital patients from all 100 North Carolina counties and 44 states. Family House opened in 2008 to offer an affordable home for loved ones of seriously ill patients receiving life-saving treatment at UNC Hospitals. Guests are provided meals, lodging, supportive programs, transportation and a nurturing network.
Treasurer Folwell returned the money to Family House on Monday, March 14, after staff in the Department of State Treasurer’s (DST) Unclaimed Property Division (UPD) identified it as belonging to the organization. Commonly called NCCash.com UPD is the repository for approximately 18 million properties valued at roughly $919 million under DST’s custody awaiting return to the rightful owners after being lost, misdirected or overlooked.
“I have the honor of making sure this missing money gets back into the hands of those for whom it was intended,” Treasurer Folwell said. “Being able to return it to an organization that does the Good Samaritan work that Family House provides is a blessing to me, but more so to their mission and the families and patients who rely on their compassion and care.”
Under state law, UPD receives and safeguards funds that are escheated, or turned over, to DST. The unclaimed property consists of bank accounts, wages, utility deposits, insurance policy proceeds, stocks, bonds and contents of safe deposit boxes that have been abandoned. More information, including how to find out if you are owed money, can be found at https://www.nccash.com/
For the fiscal year through Dec. 31, UPD has paid 86,106 claims totaling about $50.1 million from NCCash. Part of that total has been disbursed through the new NCCash Match program, a no-hassle, expedited system that eliminated paperwork processing. As of Dec. 31, DST paid 54,960 claims totaling nearly $19.1 million.
“Frankly I had never heard of NC Cash, and thanks to the visit by Treasurer Folwell yesterday almost everybody at Family House either knows about it or has gotten one of the cards” with information about the program, McAdams said.
“I loved listening to Treasurer Folwell yesterday telling me some of the stories of getting to go out and deliver checks, and how meaningful that is to people,” McAdams said. “I had to think that those are the people who come to Family House. They’re thrilled to get a check regardless of how much. It’s a surprise, and it helps them to underwrite whatever they’re doing, and for some of them it’s paying for gas to come to UNC Hospitals and stay at Family House.”
It costs about $95 a day to run one of the 75 guest rooms, which includes paying housekeepers, facilities staff and front desk managers. The returned money could pay for 12 rooms for a day.
That’s important at a time when COVID-19 has heaped challenges on Family House. The 40-bedroom community has served UNC Hospitals for 12 years, and just added on 35 rooms in a new building when COVID hit.
“It was a very deleterious effect,” delaying the anticipated occupancy increase, McAdams said. “It’s been a tough couple of years, frankly.”
McAdams said Family House serves “a Rubik’s Cube of different people with different treatment plans.” Some guests are post-surgery patients, some are preparing for surgery and others are family support members. Some are post-transplant patients and others are family members of burn center patients. Many are receiving radiation and oncology treatment.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those with serious medical conditions,” Treasurer Folwell said. “We are fortunate as a state to have Family House, its dedicated staff and wonderful volunteers providing a reassuring, helping hand in a time of greatest need.”