WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- An Arizona homeowner’s association is getting backlash for forcing an orphaned teenager out of his grandparent’s retirement community home.
- Collin Clabaugh, 15, reportedly moved in with his grandparents after his parents died just two weeks apart, according to ABC affiliate KNXV.
- Collin’s grandparents were informed that because he is not yet 19, he cannot live in Willow Creek and the family would have to arrange a new living situation by June 2020.
An Arizona homeowner’s association is facing criticism for forcing a teenage orphan out of his grandparent’s retirement community home, ABC affiliate KNXV reported.
Fifteen-year-old Collin Clabaugh moved in with his grandparents at the 55+ community Gardens at Willow Creek in Prescott after his mother Bonnie passed away in February due to “long illness.” Two weeks later, his father James committed suicide.
Collin’s grandparents were told that because he is not yet 19 that he would be unable to call Willow Creek home, and that they need to live somewhere else before June 2020, KNXV reported.
“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,’” grandmother Melodie Passmore told KNXV. “It’s not the way it was planned.”
Passmore and her husband have lived in the community for the past four years, but said they are now being forced to consider moving in order to keep Collin in their care.
“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 told the outlet.
A lawyer representing the community said in a letter obtained by KNXV that while the board was “sympathetic” to the family’s situation, it was not acting outside the scope of the law in restricting children from living there.
The board also noted in a separate statement that while some members supported having Collin as a resident, others did not, and allowing him to stay would “leave [the association] open to legal claims from other residents.”
“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,” the letter reads.
A Willow Creek representative did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Collin, meanwhile, who moved to Arizona from California, where he was living with his parents, told KTVK that he, too, wanted to keep living in Prescott.
“I want to be here. ‘Cause I know I have two people who love me,” he said.
Passmore posted the story on her Facebook page on Tuesday, and elaborated on the difficulties that would accompany moving and the positivity Collin has brought to the neighborhood.