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Townhome fire victims stuck paying monthly mortgage on destroyed - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Townhome fire victims stuck paying monthly mortgage on destroyed homes

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Victims of a townhome fire this past March, in southeast Colorado Springs, are getting some financial relief--thanks, in part, to the community.

Some of them, though, are still facing big financial burdens.

Nearly 70 people were displaced from this fire, and it's going to be a while before their homes are rebuilt.

"Probably a year and a half," Jeannie Orozco, with the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, told News5.

Bill Purvine was renting one of the units at the time of the fire.

"Luckily, I have some place to go that's charging me a quarter of the rent.  How long I'll be able to stay there is unknown at this point," he explained.

Purvine says the Red Cross worked with several rental properties, to offer a discounted monthly rent rate to the fire victims.

All 20 townhomes were deemed unlivable, but homeowners are still stuck paying for the living expenses.

Purvine explained he spends about $600-$700 a month on his charred townhome.

He says that's on the low end of the spectrum because he was a renter.

Purvine had the option to move the financial burden onto the homeowner he was renting from, but chose to continue paying his monthly rent.

He says, compared to the rest of the housing market, this mortgage is one of the only affordable ones.

Long term, he says he'd be saving money.

But in the meantime, he is trying to find a way to pay for two monthly rents.

Homeowners are in a similar situation--being forced to continue paying their mortgage each month, and HOA fees.

"We're paying for the trash and the water--but there's nowhere to put it," Purvine explained.

That's on top of the rent and utilities they're having to pay at their temporary housing.

Purvine says some insurance policies are helping with those costs--but not his.

"In my case, that's really pushing budgets and squeezing it to where it's almost non-existent to continue to survive."

They were given a little breathing room recently.

The Homeowner's Association gave $2,000 to each household.

CONO and city council members called on the community for some additional support.

"The majority of our funding came from the Colorado Springs community--$19,000 worth--which is amazing," said Orozco.

Tenants, like Purvine, say they're extremely grateful for the generosity--but they're also concerned about making it last.

"A lot of that went straight toward necessities and HOA costs," said Purvine.

"I do have some of it saved off to the side.  For lack of a better word, it's hemorrhaging the money," he added.

CONO is continuing to collect all types of donations, while tenants wait to get back into their permanent housing.

For more information, click here.

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