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Collin Clabaugh went through something that no child should experience. And then a heartless homeowners’ association only made things worse.
For his entire life, Collin Clabaugh had been happy and contented. Two loving parents raised him well in sunny California. But then tragedy struck.
Clabaugh’s mother, Bonnie, became very ill and had to spend most of her time in the hospital. The boy’s father, Clay, then had to split his time between working and looking after his wife. Life became incredibly difficult for all three.
Then, in early 2019, the worst happened. Bonnie’s medication reacted badly with her system, and she died from organ failure.
Both Clay and Collin were devastated. But the loss was too great for Clay. Just two weeks after Bonnie’s death, Clay died of suicide. Collin was now an orphan.
Luckily, Clay’s mother, Melodie Passmore, and her husband, Randy Passmore, let Collin come to live with them in their home in Arizona.
For a while, things started to get better. The 14-year-old Collin had to try to come to terms with his loss. It was no easy task, but he was making progress.
And then something happened to uproot his life once more.
The grandparents got a call from their homeowners’ association. The association said that someone had alerted them to the fact that a child was living with them.
The association was furious because the Passmores were living in a 55+ community.
They also asked why the Passmores had not informed them of the child moving in in the first place.
“I said, ‘I’ve been a little busy taking care of two funerals, a home in California and my grandson.’” – Melodie Passmore.
Then Melodie tried earnestly explaining their situation. Collin had no other relatives that he could live with. The Passmores were the only thing that could keep him out of foster care.
For a while, the association was quiet. The Passmores thought that the members had sympathized with their circumstances. But then came a terrible letter.
In May 2019, less than three months after the death of Collin’s parents, the association’s attorney sent a notice to the Passmores. It stated that Collin had to leave the home.
Even though the Passmores were financially struggling, they had no choice but to hire their own attorney.
To keep costs down, the attorney initially wrote a letter asking the association to make an exception for Collin, as he had just lost his parents unexpectedly.
For several more months, the association was quiet. They neither approved nor denied the Passmores’ request. The grandparents just wanted Collin to live in peace, so they didn’t follow up. Once again, it seemed like the ordeal was over.
But then, in early 2020, the association responded, saying that the now 15-year-old Collin will have to leave the community by the end of June.
Collin’s life has been thrown into chaos once again. And what has he done wrong?
His “crime” is that his parents died. By all accounts, Collin is a respectable and quiet person. He has caused no harm to his community, other than existing.
“This isn’t a little whiney kid running up and down the street screaming and causing trouble. This is a young man who helps his neighbors and is rarely seen outside of going to and from school.” – Melodie Passmore.
Yes, it’s understandable that some people want to live in an over 55 community. But surely they can make an exception for a child who has nowhere else to go and is trying to cope with a tragedy?
Melodie has said that she will fight for her grandson to stay. This may prove to be an incredibly expensive process, which is the last thing that the Passsmores need. But they will do anything to make Collin’s life secure.
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