(INSIDE EDITION) — A Michigan mom who got her dream home on reality TV is now living in a nightmare.
Arlene Nickless’ home was completely transformed on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2008. But now, nine years later, she has been evicted.
Inside Edition cameras were rolling as she and her family scrambled to pack her furniture and personal belongings out of the 3,200-square-foot house and into a moving van.
“The sheriff could show up anytime,” she said. “We’d have to leave whatever’s left behind. I haven’t had a chance to go through everything.”
Arlene and her family were chosen for the TV show after the sudden death of her husband Tim, a critical care nurse. She then struggled to raise their three children alone.
After hearing her story, Ty Pennington and his design team showed up and hundreds of neighbors pitched in to help.
“It was an answer to a prayer, 100 percent,” she recalled.
She says she was able to afford the $30,000 mortgage at first, but over the years, property taxes tripled.
“It took a few unexpected emergencies and I got behind,” she said. “I tried to work with the mortgage company, but my efforts were shoved under the carpet.”
It was not long before an eviction notice came in the mail.
“I asked the judge if there was anything that can stop this,” she recalled. “He said, ‘No.'”
Not even health reasons could augment the situation. She had to move out.
Her sons were still young when their home was transformed into a wonderland.
Last month, they pitched in to salvage what they could before the final eviction by taking down drapes and moving out beds and tables. Everything had to go, even photos of her late husband and his prized model airplanes.
Arlene was overcome with emotion as everything was taken out of the house.
“I don’t know where we’re going to go,” she said as she fought back tears.
Neighbors who supported her on that happy day nine years ago have been left stunned by the eviction.
“It’s not fair at all,” one neighbor told Inside Edition. “Her heart is broken. First she loses her husband; now she’s losing her house.”
Another neighbor called the situation “sad.”
The once beautiful home is now nearly empty and the moving van is full.
Arlene says she’s trying to stay upbeat despite being evicted from her dream home.
“I feel so blessed we had this happened to us. It’s a beautiful home,” she said. “They can take away the house but they can’t take away the memories.”
The widow says she is moving in with her 32-year-old son.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. To learn more about how you can help, click here.