On December 2, the 48 Condominium owners (not renters) were evacuated from their homes with 15 minutes notice. There were constructional repairs being done on the building. Every unit owner had recently paid a $15,000 assessment for this work to be done. Coming up with the funds for an assessment that big was a hardship for many - but these are responsible homeowners, who took pride in their building and their homes. It was a COMPLETE SURPRISE that evening at 7:00 PM when the police knocked on the door and made them get out. Thankfully, the critical issue that caused the building to become unstable has been temporarily corrected, so the City authorized them access (until December 31 and in limited numbers) to complete the evacuation and empty their homes. There has been No Financial Assistance, other than emergency Red Cross Services.
Many people had their Christmas trees up and presents underneath anticipating the holidays in their home: now those decorations were hastily packed with the rest of their belongings. A few had family they could stay with, others found friends or short term rentals; ALL of them are scrambling for a new place to live. The community has rallied with prayers, boxes, helping hands - for that - all are grateful! But the emotional trauma of this is just the beginning. These families have had to be resilient - you have to move forward - so you do.
The other part of the story is what's next? This building is STILL OWNED by 48 FAMILIES! There is a high probability, that NO insurance money will be paid, since it wasn't a disaster or an act of God that caused this - it may be years before culpability is determined. Many of the families have mortgages - technically responsible for a mortgage AND now - rent! In addition - because they still OWN their interest in the property, there continue to be costs (typically covered by the monthly maintenance fees)... insurance, maintenance of the sidewalk, utilities, and a large/looming eventuality - Legal Fees! What happens when the raze order is issued by the City? These families are technically responsible for the demolition as well. Please remember, they just paid nearly $600,000 to start the repair work that ultimately snowballed into evacuation. These families have lost SO MUCH! They lost their homes, their equity and their finances have been brutalized - perhaps for years to come.
We ARE Waukesha Strong! So many have wanted to help, yet it's hard to give to just one family. The purpose of this Go Fund Me is to collectively offset some of the looming issues these families will face so they can just move forward without a behemoth threatening their futures more than it needs to. All funds collected will be used to offset their common expenses and legal fees until decisions and outcomes can be determined; and ultimately compensate the individual families for their incredible financial loss. Your generosity helps lighten the load of 48 FAMILIES IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD who have lost their home so they can resume a normal life. Thank you in advance - your gift makes a difference!
My mother, Ione Kohler, was one of the families who were evacuated. I have seen first hand how difficult that has been. My name is Diane McGeen and I also live in Waukesha. I am a Realtor and have sold over 12 units in this building over the past decades. At the conclusion of this fund raising event, the funds will be released to me and I will send the full amount to Horizon West Condominium Homeowners Association for them to use as ongoing expenses, such as legal fees, utilities, insurance and maintenance. Even though no one is living in the property at this time, there are ongoing expenses. Every dollar raised will alleviate some of the financial burden for the ongoing liabilities. Although most families have found other housing, in actuality, they still OWN their units and the expenses do not stop just because of this situation. We thank each and every donor who was so thoughtful and kind to contribute to this project.