Displaced Colorado wildfire survivors in dire need of housing

·2 min read

Superior, Colorado — Hundreds of families were left homeless after the Marshall Fire damaged or destroyed more than 1,000 structures at the end of December. Those who lost homes are now having difficulty finding new housing arrangements due to a lack of availability.

Nikki and Ryan Fazio were among those whose homes were destroyed. The couple fled with their two children and pets as the fast-moving fire closed in.

"When you lose something like this, you don't even know what you need to get back," Ryan Fazio said. "You just kind of go into survival mode."

Nathan and Cheryl Ruff have moved their family four times from hotels to a friend's basement since the fire destroyed their home.

"Since the fire, the morning after, that has been my sole purpose — is just to find a home in our community for the children," Cheryl Ruff said.

In this aerial view, burned homes sit in a neighborhood decimated by the Marshall Fire on January 4, 2022 in Louisville, Colorado.  / Credit: Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images
In this aerial view, burned homes sit in a neighborhood decimated by the Marshall Fire on January 4, 2022 in Louisville, Colorado. / Credit: Michael Ciaglo / Getty Images

Her husband said there was already a lack of available housing before the fire.

"I don't think there was more than two or three houses in inventory if you wanted to just buy a place before this," he said. "And now there's 1,000 households that are looking."

Amanda DiVito Parle, a realtor, agreed that there are few options in the area.

"The need for housing is enormous and desperate and really sad," she said. "Just a lot of people who are displaced with very few options."

The Fazio family have a place to stay — for now — after owners of a home, who were strangers to the family, moved out so that the Fazio family wouldn't have to leave town.

"Our biggest thing is keeping the kids in school and keeping them around their friends, and making sure they have the stability they had before this," Ryan Fazio said.

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