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Arizona Senior Living Facility Sparks Backlash After Telling Orphaned 15-Year-Old He Can't Live With His Grandparents

Arizona Senior Living Facility Sparks Backlash After Telling Orphaned 15-Year-Old He Can't Live With His Grandparents
ABC 15 Arizona/YouTube

A resident of a senior living facility in Arizona is outraged at her HomeOwners Association (HOA) for prioritizing their rules over the life of her orphaned grandson.

Collin Clabaugh, 15, moved in with his grandparents in the community located in Prescott after his parents died within two weeks of each other.

Last year, Clabaugh's mother, Bonnie, died in a hospital and two weeks later his father took his own life.

But now the homeowner's association at the Gardens at Willow Creek are forcing him out because he is younger than the required minimum age of 19 to live in the 55+ community.

The boy has nowhere else to go and has until June to find another place to live.

Clabaugh said:

"I just don't think it's right, what they're doing."

His grandmother, Melodie Passmore, told news station KNXV-TV:

"It's amazing how one rule is more important than one person's life."

You can watch the clip of the news report here.

Passmore said that nothing prepared them for the family tragedy.

"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."

Although some of the residents at the facility expressed their support for the orphaned resident, others complained to association board members.

Passmore insisted her grandson is not a troublemaker.

"He's not a danger to the 'old' people that live here."

In a statement, lawyers representing the board wrote:

"The board must balance the interests of all parties involved, not just the Passmores."

The lawyers also claimed that forcing the teen out is legal under the Housing for Older Persons Act, which was signed into law by former President Bill Clinton on December 28, 1995.

Although the HOPA does stipulate that no one under the age of 19 are allowed to reside in certain 55+ housing facilities, exceptions can be made with community designated "family units."

But the board insists that not enforcing the age restriction rules could further complicate matters.

The attorneys added:

"Community associations that fail to enforce their residency age restrictions leave themselves open to legal claims from other residents and could even endanger the ability of the association to remain an age-restricted community."

The Passmores have been residents at Willow Creek for four years but are now planning to meet with a real estate agent for relocation in order to continue caring for their grandson.

On Facebook, Passmore explained why they chose to live in the community.

"We bought here because we liked the house and the neighborhood, not to move away from kids, as so many have said this is why people move to a 55+ community. Not always, people."
"My immediate neighbors moved here because it was affordable, especially when living on SS or a pension. Not all of us have money."

She continued by defending her grandson:

"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."
"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 grand parents around and intimidate us."

Clabaugh, who remains worried about being separated from his grandparents, said.

"It just seems so heartless that even though we've explained our whole situation, it has to be the rule that dictates everything."

He also expressed not wanting to leave Prescott.

"I want to be here. 'Cause I know I have two people who love me."

This is one of the reasons why people seem to have a problem with communities with an HOA.

Passmore's frustration was expressed with these strong words for the HOA.

"I've stepped in things that I find nicer than you people."