My house in Ohio would have sold for $500,000 in Colorado. It sold for $182,000 in Ohio. So I couldn’t really start out with anything. And my retirement money was too much for the senior housing options. I looked at a condo, but I couldn’t make the payments. It really wasn’t affordable. Then I started to look into a tiny house, but zoning didn’t allow that.
My daughter and her wife were completely onboard with helping to find an affordable place for me to live in Fort Collins. They decided to put an extension on their house, which added a 600 square foot apartment attached to their home, per local zoning requirements. I used the profit from the sale of my Ohio home to into the addition and I was finally able to afford a home here.
A year ago this month, we had a groundbreaking party with neighbors. We were in the backyard and my daughter stood up and said, “We’re here to break ground on an addition for my mother. My mother was a nurse for 50 years and took care of other people and now it’s time for us to take care of her.”
I’m living my best life in this little space. It’s perfect for me. I clean every Sunday and it takes about 15 minutes. Everything is brand new. I picked out everything. We made the doors wheelchair accessible, and I have my own private front door. I think it’s just perfect and my dog Honey loves it, too.
While my story turned out happily, I feel bad for people who can’t live near family because of the home prices. When I came out here two years ago to look at places, I went home very discouraged. If it weren’t for my family, I would still be living in Ohio, while my family all lived out here.
I guess I don’t know Fort Collins well enough to know what the answer is to the affordable housing issue. I did recently go to Fort Collins City Council. I was really nervous because I had never done anything like this before. But I was proud of myself and how I told my story of trying to find housing in Fort Collins. I just wanted City Council to know, and I think I made an impression.
What I would like to see is for housing to be more affordable for people like me on retirement income. Most of us have worked all our lives to put money away and have something to live on when we retire. It’s discouraging when you get to this point and can’t live near your loved ones. Do I know what the answer is? No. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know I’m very lucky because I live here now.