Two families were displaced from their Jerome Ave.. home late last Wednesday when the house showed signs of structural damage from ice and snow build up.

The families received some assistance from the Red Cross to cover a couple nights in a hotel. They are working with housing agencies to find a more permanent living situation.  According to Michael Smith, one of the affected renters, the families had less than an hour to grab some belongings and leave the property.  In an e-mail, Smith said “Our personal belongings are not damaged so far. But the roof is still in danger of collapsing.”

The families will have to wait until Wednesday to find out if they will even be allowed to enter the building.  They need to wait for a structural engineer to give the green light for anything to be done in the home.  Jennifer Cronin, the other tenant, said they were able to get some clothes and their children’s school bags, but not much else.

Both families are staying with local friends and relatives for the time being.  The Cronins will need to find shelter for the next 5-6 months as the building is repaired.  The Cronins will be looking for a permanent apartment, as they were informed that the landlord is planning to move back to the Jerome Ave. house once repairs are complete.

The families are now desperately seeking somewhere to stay.  Both would prefer to stay in or very close to Auburn.  “We love it here.  We love the schools and the kids love their teachers” said Cronin.  Unfortunately, there is not much currently available for rent in Auburn, at least that is listed on the MLS, according to realtor Beth Johnson.

Any word of mouth referrals would be greatly appreciated.  The Smiths have one 11 year old son and a pet cat, while the Cronins have two children – 5 and 11 – and a “30 pound beagle who is the sweetest thing” says Cronin.  If anyone does know of space for rent- sort term for the Smith family or more permanent for the Cronin family – you can e-mail info@auburnmassdaily.com and we will pass that information along.

Since the families rent, they do not have homeowners’ insurance which would cover hotel costs or apartment rental in situations like this.  At this point, the families are not having to replace their personal belongings, but they are facing significant unexpected expenses.

According to the families, they will need to move all their belongings out of the Jerome St. house and either store it or move it to temporary housing, as there is no room in either of their current living quarters.  Once the repairs at Jerome St. are complete, the Smiths will need to move back to the Jerome Ave. house. In addition to moving expenses, the families may also be faced with additional rental deposits for their new lodgings.  It is not yet known what arrangements, if any,  are available through the landlord or his insurance company.

Pakachoag Church is accepting donations that will go toward defraying some of the families’ expenses.  Gift cards or monetary donations can be left at the church office, 203 Pakachoag St. in Auburn.  If the office is closed, donations can be dropped in the mail slot next to the office door.  You can also mail donations to:

Pakachoag Church
203 Pakachaog St.
Auburn, MA 01501

Because both families are in temporary living situations in very tight quarters, and because their belongings are intact, just inaccessible, donations of goods are not requested at this time.  Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that the families will be able to get back in and save everything.  But the coming weeks are sure to be trying.  While winter 2015 is one we will all remember, it has become one the Cronin and Smith families will never, ever forget.