• 10 months after apartment fire, woman still living in car with 3 dogs

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    MARLBOROUGH, Mass. – Ten months after a fire destroyed Tiffany Staffier’s apartment in Southbridge she’s still searching for options as she lives in her car in a parking garage.

    Along with her companion, Kenny, and three dogs, Staffier’s car has been home. She says it’s partly by choice, but partly by a lack of choices.

    “It is so stressful and depressing knowing that I'm 26 and living in my car,” she said. “It's the hardest thing to deal with.”

    The Red Cross and family members helped in the immediate days after the fire, someone even donated a camper. But by last summer options had dwindled to three cylinders.

    “Something I never wanted to come to terms with. My home is a parking garage,” she said.

    Living in a car invites the kind of compromises that can keep you stuck.  For example, Tiffany drives Kenny to his part-time job in Worcester, but says she couldn't keep her former job as a home health care aide because she has no one to take care of her three beloved dogs.

    The dogs have created complications and invited questions, but she says she can’t get rid of them because “my dogs are my world.”

    The world inside the Mitsubishi is in plain sight, but, in truth it’s invisible to much of the other world that’s about to celebrate Christmas. 

    “My family loved Christmas. And the fact I'm going to be in a car for Christmas is heartbreaking,” Staffier said.

    Staffier said they were just approved last week for a housing voucher in Worcester county worth $840 for a two-bedroom apartment. The only problem is they say they have not been able to find such an apartment for that price, most especially one that will accept pets.

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