ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Less than a month before it was set to open, tragedy struck an apartment complex in the International District meant to serve as temporary housing for women coming out of incarceration. Now, the nonprofit organization heading up the project is forced to halt progress until the damage caused by a fire is repaired.
Crossroads for Women asked the community for help making Casa Mariposa a reality this summer through their Adopt an Apartment campaign. The organization received a grant that allowed them to purchase the 15-unit building but asked the community to help sponsor the renovation of the units.
Executive Director Cory Lee said they hope to alleviate some of the pressure on these women and their children looking to start fresh. “Identifying housing can be difficult, especially if you have previous criminal histories or no long-term rental history,” Lee said earlier this summer.
The Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity completed renovations on the exterior of the building in late September. But when Lee received a call from the Albuquerque fire department on Tuesday night, she knew they would have to wait longer than expected to welcome women in.
Lee said about six apartments were heavily damaged in the fire. Luckily, their only current tenant was not injured and was the one to alert AFR to the fire before it caused even more damage to the building. “They stayed most of the night making sure there were no flare-ups,” Lee said.
After the investigators and insurance asses the situation, Lee says they’ll have to clean up and begin the process again. “We were about to start housing women November 1st, and so we start over again, and that’s what we do. The organization, just like the women we serve, we don’t give up, and we pick ourselves up, and we start again,” Lee said.
Lee says they’re grateful to the community for their continued support, and they look forward to when they can invite the women they hope to serve into the building as soon as it’s ready. “This is a setback, but it’s not the end of this building’s journey or the program,” Lee said.