Another landmark moment for the Northside neighborhood and Habitat for Humanity

Coastal Credit Union representatives and Habitat homebuyers at Gattis Court on Saturday, June 29. Photo provided by Kaitlyn Kopala.


By Michelle Cassell

Habitat for Humanity and the Coastal Credit Union Foundation celebrated the near completion of two duplex homes in the Gattis Court community in Chapel Hill on June 29. When these homes are finished in late summer or early fall, they will mark a significant transformation of the land, which previously housed only one home before Habitat’s intervention. This growth from one to four homes is a testament to the powerful, effective work of Habitat for Humanity and the Coastal Credit Union Foundation.

Gattis Court is located close to the Hargraves Community Center. It was funded by a $100,000 grant from the Coastal Credit Union Foundation. The four new owners are only weeks away from becoming first-time buyers. The building process began in 2022.

“Whenever we get the chance to build in Northside or in Chapel Hill specifically, we always jump at it when we can,” said Kaitlyn Kopala, Communications Manager for Orange County Habitat for Humanity, in a TLR interview on Wednesday.

According to Kopala, the Northside Neighborhood has been targeted by investors trying to buy its land to flip homes, sell them, or rent them out to students for an astronomical rate. Habitat worked with the Jackson Center’s land bank to acquire the property. The Jackson Center works with neighbors in the community to decide what to do with the land it purchases.

The Saturday celebration attracted close to 100 people, with members from the Coastal Credit Union Foundation, Chapel Hill Council Members Camille Berry and Theodore Nollert, some town staff, Habitat Board members, many volunteers, neighbors, and homebuyers attending. “It is fun to see in a neighborhood like this, the existing neighbors in history come together,” said Kopala.

“Coastal’s mission is helping people bank better to live better,” said Tyler Grodi, Coastal’s President and CEO in a speech at the celebration, “There is nothing that says, ‘better living’ than having a home to call your own. I encourage other businesses and the community to work as a whole to give your continued support and involvement to Habitat, so that families can build a better future.” The homes were dedicated in honor of Coastal CEO and his wife Gail, longtime supporters of Habitat for Humanity.

Jennifer Player, President and CEO at Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, praised the Foundation and the Gattis Court community. “Together we are creating homes and fostering connections that will enrich the lives of families for generations to come.”

Habitat for Humanity Orange County was founded in 1984 and has built nearly 350 homes in Orange County.

Michelle Cassell is a seasoned reporter who has covered everything from crime to hurricanes and local politics to human interest over the course of 35 years. As managing editor, she hopes to encourage writers of a wide range of backgrounds and interests in TLR’s coverage of Southern Orange County news. 
This reporter can be reached at

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