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Family ‘still homeless’ 2 weeks after fire destroys their home

Two weeks after a fire displaced them from their home in Centerville-Washington Twp., Courtney Robinson and her partner and their four children are essentially homeless.

Robinson said she called and asked the management at the Chevy Chase Park Apartments whether there was a guarantee for the family to return to the government subsidized apartment on Loganwood Drive, where they had lived in for three years.

“There’s no guarantee, they’re treating it as I started the fire, and I just really don’t appreciate that,” Robinson told News Center 7’s Natalie Jovonovich on Tuesday night.

The Washington Twp. fire marshal ruled the Oct. 5 fire an accident. The “rapid moving fire” was started when a lamp fell onto a bed in Robinson’s townhome.

An injured firefighter, an estimated $200,000 in damage and the loss of priceless personal possessions later, Robinson’s family members now find themselves living with relatives in Jefferson Twp. — “I mean yes, we are staying with my mom now, but we’re still homeless” — and accepting donations because the fire took everything they had.

“My kid’s schools, they’ve been helping out a lot, a lot. If it wasn’t for those schools, I don’t even know where we would be right now,” she said.

Chevy Chase has units, Robinson said, but her family hasn’t been allowed to move in. The family did receive some funds from the Red Cross for temporary housing at a hotel. She has called social service agencies as well, to no avail.

“They told us to go to a homeless shelter and we would get help faster with finding an apartment,” Robinson said. “But when I called the shelter, I called the YWCA for the families and they told me that’s for domestic violence only. So again, up against the wall, there’s nothing that we can do.”

Jovonovich reached out to HUD officials, who directed her to the department’s office in Illinois for comment. The HUD official in Illinois has yet to respond to her request for an interview.

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