COLORADO SPRINGS – Folks displaced by the Regency Tower building fire found out on Wednesday they won’t be able to return home for at least two more months due to asbestos contamination.
Some are having to seek refuge at the Red Cross shelter set up at Cheyenne Mountain High School until a permanent place can be found.
However, the process is proving to be difficult. There are now five displaced residents calling the Red Cross shelter home.
“It’s that or I’d probably be on the street,” said 66-year-old Ardene Hagadorn.
After losing access to their apartments, folks like Ardene Hagadorn and her neighbor Jim Magee found food, housing, and comfort here. They say they only want to return to the Regency Tower to collect their belongings and find somewhere else to live.
“It’s only stuff when it comes down to it,” Magee said. “You know, I’m out, I’m walking around, I’m breathing properly. So you know, I’m a happy camper. But it does take a big emotional toll.”
“We needed the support, the emotional support,” Hagadorn added.
The Red Cross is also providing caseworkers to help find them somewhere to go. But affordability has been an issue.
“We’re on fixed incomes and that’s where it’s hard,” Hagadorn explained. “Like, I’m trying to supplement it by getting a job to supplement our Social Security.”
Availability is also an obstacle.
“Some of the places I called you’re into three-year waiting lists for senior housing,” she noted.
To make matters worse, neither had renter’s insurance.
“Insurance is very important,” Hagadorn emphasized. “You should always have insurance,” Magee agreed.
But they do have goals – and each other – to help get them through this.
“Because I’m starting from square one again and get a car and find a place to live, that’s it.,” Hagadorn said of her goals.
“Get a new apartment, you know where I could afford the rent and everything. And you know, from there you just move on,” Magee described when saying what would ideally come next for him.
These folks are in contact with silver key senior services to try and match them with senior housing. In the meantime, the Red Cross says the shelter will remain open as long as there’s a need.