The Oscar Family: Clara, Andy, and Cassidy

Clara Oscar is a 63-year-old grandmother who has owned her small home in Chapel Hill’s Northside neighborhood since the 1980s. While once a schoolteacher, Clara has since retired and lives frugally but comfortably on her fixed income from social security. Her home has been paid off for years but while her neighborhood was once a thriving Black community, it’s quickly gentrifying as developers begin purchasing her neighbors’ homes.   

Unexpectedly, her two grandchildren, Andy (age 10) and Cassidy (age 11) come to live with her when their mother could no longer care for them. Suddenly Clara’s small but manageable fixed income isn’t nearly enough to feed, clothe, and care for everyone – let alone pay the high utility bills that come from having two nearly teenagers in the house.  

Unfortunately, the day after Clara’s grandchildren move in she receives a notice from the town of Chapel Hill that her property tax bill is increasing by 12.5%. She now owes $5,647 ($628 more than the previous year), which is money she doesn’t have. Clara must now take a part-time job as a house cleaner to keep up with these unexpected bills, but she is still afraid she’ll lose her home on top of everything else. 

What decisions will you make to help Clara?