Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Homeless Home Owners

So, here is a little story about my friends Erin and Ryan. I don't mean "friends" like "Oh, I've met them once or twice." We've been friends for 8 years. They've been there for me when I've needed them. They gave me a place for me and my two young girls to stay when Lover and I broke up temporarily and I moved out. Ryan has been there for me with answers to countless questions about my car. Erin is always there for me with a no holds barred, tell it like it is opinion, and I love that. Just good people that you hate to see anything happen to.

We've partied together. 

When Jake and I go up to visit St Louis, they always plan a get together with all of our friends. We always do Dave and Busters, since our kids and all the adults can have fun. 

Ryan surprised Erin for Christmas 2009 with a plane ticket to Dallas. 

I drove up to St Louis to go to their wedding. 

And they drove the long 10 hours to Dallas to come to ours. 

And we've had countless BBQ's and parties at their house. 

See that house in the background in the last pic? That's what this little story is about.

Back in October 2009, they came home and found a horrible smell in their lower level (they live in a bi-level home). They found that the drain pipe for the house's main plumbing had detached from the floor. They had a plumber come out, and the plumber found that the reason the pipe detached from the house is that the ground under the house was MISSING. 

Erin and Ryan contacted the City of Arnold, MO, and the city came out and did their own investigation. The city determined that it "wasn't their problem" and the city's insurance denied the claim. Ryan and Erin then contacted their home owner insurance, who also denied the claim, since it doesn't cover "earth movement or erosion". The mortgage company also does not want to get involved until the Egleston's go into default/foreclosure. 

They have contacted Erin Brockovich, Ellen, Oprah, and two of the TV stations in St Louis. They have also contacted their congressman, state reps and attorney general. They were told it's a local level issue and to start there. None of the city council aldermen will help, due to litigation. The Eglestons did have a short story on the St Louis news back in Feb 2010.

They also have a video on YouTube, showing the things they're dealing with. In the video, they also show a clip of them going to a City Council meeting to speak with the mayor. To me, the mayor seems very unsympathetic, and honestly, comes across like a jerk. 

In the video, it's revealed that the house was built on a human waste lagoon on a pier, and over time, the land has washed away. The city administrator says in the video that there were 29 lagoons in Arnold at one time, and since there are no lagoons now, obviously they were all built on. It's been suggested to Ryan that he find out where the other lagoons are, and to go and talk to those residents to see if they are having the same issues, but somehow, all those records are unavailable, and they cannot find the location of the other lagoons. That should be public record, yet no one can find it? 

So, since October 2009, two and a half long years, the Eglestons have been paying a mortgage on a house that is unfit to live in, and they've been living with family members. They finally have a court date set for September 2012, almost three long years after this all started.

There are a couple of other issues on their street, but the city says the problems are completely separate.

The street is literally caving away, since there is nothing under the asphalt. The city says it's not related.

The city also says that flooding isn't an issue on their street, and again, is not related. 

The blue car is Erin's, and that pic was taken from their front porch. It would be impossible to get out of your driveway with that amount of water in the street. You can't even see the curb, and that area in the distance in the trees is even worse. 

I don't expect anyone to have the magic answer. But a prayer, a word of encouragement or a suggestion would be appreciated.

Love you, Erin and Ry.


8 people love me:

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

This whole sistuation makes me sad and angry, they are always in my thoughts and everyday I hope to see something positive happen to them to get this taken care of. I'm sure they appreciate you getting the word out there.

Nelly said... [Reply to comment]

That poor family Maybe get in touch with that house makeover show? See if they can do anything.Typical councils and insurance companies.Hope things turn around for them soon.

SkinnyMeg said... [Reply to comment]

That is outrageous! I pray they can get someone on their side and get this fixed!!!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

That's just awful :( Have they spoken with neighbors to see if they have any signs of erosion as well? There's power in numbers. If they spread the word enough to their local townspeople, maybe they can team together and finally be heard?

Pat said... [Reply to comment]

My husband is a contractor and years ago he had a call from a homeowner whose walls and ceilings were cracking. Upon investigating, it was discovered the house had been built on the area where all the trees cleared from the land for the housing development had been dumped along with anything else the builder wanted to get rid of. Over the years, the trees rotted and the house was shifting as there was nothing solid left under it. I believe the house was about 15 years old. The homeowner got no help either, as the builder was no longer in business and the county wouldn't take the responsibility, although there had to have been inspections. I believe the homeowner ended up having the house moved at his own expense.

I hope your friend gets some help with this.

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

What a trip! I know of Ryan from a J-body forum and have been reading about their home issue for the past couple years! Hope they get it all worked out!

Lisa Fliehman said... [Reply to comment]

Oh Jen this is so sad. I will be praying for your friends and hope this gets resolved. Unfortunately noone ever seems to want to take responibility anymore. My pastor and his young family had to move out of their home 5 days after Christmas, because of Chinese Drywall. The builder went bankrupt and there was no where else to turn. 14 houses in his sub will be bulldozed and all the homeowners lost any investment they had.

Ness said... [Reply to comment]

I live in Belleville IL 16 miles from St. Louis and I saw their story on the news! Have been keeping them in my prayers every since.