RUTLAND, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressman Jim McGovern was in Rutland on Tuesday, getting an inside look at a home with a crumbling foundation.

The homeowners, Gary and Charlene Bellos found out their home tested positive for pyrrhotite – a mineral that causes this cracking once it’s exposed to oxygen and water. The only real fix is a new foundation.

“You feel you’ve done everything right,” said Charlene. “You’ve saved, you’ve earned. My husband’s now retired. It’s hopelessness, how could this happen to us?”

It has also happened to families in Monson, Holden, Wales, and Barre who all gathered in Rutland to share their stories with the Congressman.

“This is happening through no fault of the homeowners and yet to remedy it, they have to lay a new foundation,” said McGovern. “That’s going to cost a lot of money.”

The Bellos was quoted at $178,000 and $190,000 for the project. Other homeowners have gotten quotes upwards of $250,000. None of it is covered by insurance.

“Currently there is no relief and no way to get any financial help to get our foundation replaced,” said Gary. “We are looking for help.”

There are at least two dozen cities and towns that have homes that have tested positive for pyrrhotite. McGovern said this is a problem that affects every homeowner in those communities.

“They can’t sell these homes, then at some point, they will have to abandon these homes,” said McGovern. “That has an impact on the entire neighborhood. It could result in lower property values. It could result in lower tax revenue for cities and towns.”

Congressman McGovern is taking the stories he heard from the homeowners back to Washington. He is going to try to work with FEMA, the Department of Transportation, and other lawmakers to try to come up with a plan to get them some help. Until then, State Senator Anne Gobi is working to pass legislation that would prevent any more homes from being built on top of a crumbling foundation by testing quarries for pyrrhotite.

“I’m hoping we can at least get the testing in place and then have something in place to get these folks the reimbursement they need and deserve,” said Gobi.