15-year-old Collin Clabaugh will soon be homeless if his grandparents' old age community do not change their decision to kick him out.
For most teenagers, living without their parents can be daunting. What happens if you don't have a home? Where do you go? Do you get placed in the foster care system? Children in older age groups are the least likely group to get adopted from the foster care system. Therefore, it can be a terrifying thought to wonder what it's like to be orphaned as an "older" child. For Collin Clabaugh, he was left with no options after both his parents sadly died mere weeks apart. He moved to Arizona from California in order to live with his grandparents but was shortly forced to leave.
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (CBS Local) — A senior living community in Arizona is forcing a teenager to leave his grandparent’s home after both of his parents died within two weeks of each other. Gardens and Courtyard at Willow Creek, a gated community for people... https://t.co/8ZLCTaGkqv— cwphilly (@cwphilly) January 16, 2020
Collin, only 15 years old, moved in with his grandparents' at the 55+ community Gardens at Willow Creek in Prescott, Arizona, after losing both his mom and dad. His mother passed away due to a "long illness" in February last year, while his father died by suicide shortly after. With no place to call home, the young boy packed his bags and decided to live with his paternal grandparents. However, Collin was swiftly informed by the care home that he would have to look for alternative housing as he was younger than 19. Willow Creek could not be his home, the association informed him.
The family of Collin Clabaugh, 15, said that their grandson came to live with them after both his parents died two weeks apart. https://t.co/qYDZaRN9UT— KOAA News5 (@KOAA) January 15, 2020
Now, the family is unsure about how to handle the situation. Grandmother Melodie Passmore explained in an interview, "We didn’t plan this. We didn’t go out all of a sudden one day and say, ‘Hey, let’s have Clay kill himself and let’s have Bonnie die, and we’ll take Collin in and to heck with the HOA.' It’s not the way it was planned." Instead of forcing the teen to find his own home, the seniors are considering moving out with him. For the past four years, they have lived in Willow Creek, but are presently reconsidering. Collin added during the interview, "It just seems so heartless that even though we’ve explained our whole situation and everything, it has to be the rule that dictates everything, it can’t be someone’s life."
Collin Clabaugh's parents both died last year. He subsequently moved into his grandparents' home in a senior community but is now being told to leave. https://t.co/a38hxLGMpG pic.twitter.com/5eRhPxpqyL— Inman News (@InmanNews) January 16, 2020
Allegedly, the Willow Creek association published a letter regarding the matter. They claimed that though some residents did not have a problem with Collin being a part of the community, others did. This, they argued, would "leave [the association] open to legal claims from other residents." The letter reads, "In coming to this decision, please understand that the Association has no ill will towards the Passmores or Collin, nor is it trying to make a difficult family situation more difficult."
But Collin and his grandparents do not believe this is a humane response. Melodie, therefore, wrote on Facebook, "How many of you can just sell your house and buy a new one and not feel horrible because you have sunk every dime you had into fixing it up? This isn’t a little whiny 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. So next time you want to rag on me remember to ask yourself if you have compassion and want to see him happy and living with people who love him or would you rather he be in foster care because some lawyers are trying to push his grandparents around and intimidate us. They allow 19-year-olds so allowing him under special circumstances for a couple more years isn’t the end of the world."
Hopefully, the Willow Creek association will learn some empathy and finally let the poor teen live with his only remaining family and give him the time and space he needs to properly grieve.