Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Both Parents Die Weeks Apart, Orphaned Teen Now Being Forced To Leave Grandparents' Home at Senior Living Center


An Arizona family is in limbo after a homeowners association ruled that 15-year-old Collin Clabaugh is too young to live with his grandparents in their age-restricted community.

Collin has suffered the loss of both of his parents in the last year, KTVK reported.

His mother, Bonnie, died in the hospital last year.

Two weeks later, Collin’s father, Clay, died by suicide.

Now, Collin is trying to rebuild his life, moving from California to Prescott, Arizona, to live with the two people who love him dearly: his grandparents.

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A sophomore at Prescott High School, Collin said he wants to keep living with his grandparents, who own a home in a senior living community called The Gardens and Courtyard at Willow Creek.

But the HOA is determined to strictly enforce the rule that the minimum age requirement to live in the community is 19.

Collin, a few years too young and with nowhere else to go, must be out of the home by June, the HOA told Melodie Passmore, Collin’s grandmother.

“I cry every day,” Passmore told KTVK. “I try not to cry in front of him because I want him to be happy.”

The Passmores said they are meeting with a realtor to discuss their selling options, but worry they will be limited by the type of mortgage they have and their fixed Social Security income.

An attorney representing the homeowners association told KTVK that while the board understands the family’s unique situation, they must uphold the age-requirement rule.

“The board appreciates the difficulty of these circumstances but must balance the interests of all parties involved. The Passmores, and all other owners who purchased property in an age-restricted community expecting the age restrictions to be followed,” the statement read.

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Should the HOA make an exception to the rule in this case?

If the Passmores get permission to bend the rule, it may set a precedent for future families to expect the same.

“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 statement added.

But some say an exception to a rule is always possible, including some of the Passmores’ neighbors.

“Neighbors who approached us told us this was wrong for HOA to do,” KTVK’s David Caltabiano wrote on Twitter.

“My big message is, ‘get a heart,'” Passmore said.

“You may be a grandparent and all of a sudden, you have to take someone in because there is nowhere else for them to go,” she added.

“I want to be here,” Collin said, “because I know I have two people who love me.”

As the month of June looms over the sophomore’s head, the family is scrambling to figure out a solution.

“It breaks my heart because this rule is more important than a human life,” Collin said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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