RALEIGH, N.C. (12/14/09)--State Employees’ CU (SECU) is sponsoring a Family House to provide a place for out-of-towners to stay when recovering from surgery or medical care or when someone in their family is hospitalized at University of North Carolina Hospitals. The $16.7 billion asset, Raleigh, N.C.-based credit union’s house has provided a refuge this year for more than 1,160 guests from North Carolina, 19 other states and three foreign countries (The Daily Tar Heel via Weekly Update Dec. 7). “It’s a home away from home,” Robert McRae, whose family stayed there, told the paper. The cost of operating a room for one night is $56, but guests pay between $5 and $35 per room each night, depending on their financial circumstances. The average guest contribution is $25 per night, and there is no limit on how long a person can stay at the house--one person has been there since January--the paper said. “That way it’s a service for all families, not just those who can afford it,” Executive Director Greg Kirkpatrick told the paper. The house will have holiday decorations and events such as evergreen trees, wreaths, community volunteer performances, a Christmas dinner and a surprise visit from Santa Claus. Sometimes there is a waiting list for the 34,000-square-foot house, which contains 40 rooms. “It’s a nice place to stay, but it’s also a supportive and encouraging environment for people to get together,” Janet Hudgens, marketing and volunteer coordinator, told the paper.