Santa Clara Apartments

A former Santa Clara Apartment resident leaves the building with belongings from his apartment after being vacated by city officials. 

Former Santa Clara Apartment residents were forced to evacuate on Tuesday,many left feeling abandoned and lost. One phoned the Rio Grande SUN weeping to say all of his belongings had been locked in his apartment and made unavailable to him to retrieve.

The building at 816 Calle Chamisal has been condemned and notice to vacate was sent to residents two weeks ago. Española City Councilor Denise Benavidez said 21 adults and ten children were living in the building at the time of condemnation.

The notice that Santa Clara Apartments would be condemned was sent on Nov. 7 and the residents were given the next two weeks to move out. This decision , according to city officials,was made after the property owner John Bosley ignored a letter that urged him to fix the safety violations and fire hazards within the complex that were identified after two fire inspections. 

Bosley did not respond for comment when contacted by the SUN.

One inspection reported exposed wiring, missing fire extinguishers and broken emergency lighting, and the other  report was similar.

On Tuesday, Española City Manager Jordan Yutzy said the displaced residents had been given 30-day vouchers provided by the United States Department of Agriculture to use at the local Motel 6 or Roadway Inn. Española interim Planning and Land Use Director Lou Baker said all that is necessary to receive this voucher is to be on a list of legal tenants provided by the United States Department of Agriculture and to show a valid form of identification.

However, most of the former residents who spoke to the SUN on Tuesday, didn’t seem to know about the hotel vouchers, with many of them scrambling to figure out their next step.

The biggest concern for those who were displaced was what to do with their belongings. Although they can store their items at their apartment, they will have to call Baker to retrieve them because the locks in the building are being changed.

But no one wants to leave their belongings there with the worry of someone breaking in to steal things. If they wish to move everything out, it had to be Tuesday, but many former residents, such as Polly Rudolph and Crystal Archuleta, don’t have transportation to do so or anywhere to store them. 

Another complaint the former tenants have is that many of them did not receive their deposits back, despite, according to them, no damages being reported in their apartments.

Many of the former residents are angered by how this has been handled.

“No matter how shitty it is, this has been my home. It has been neglected ... USDA didn’t do inspections. The city police didn’t arrest people OR criminals trespass them. John Bosley did not do what he was supposed to do,” Rudolph said.

Despite the many safety reported by the former residents, such as break-ins and drug deals, they do not believe that the solution was to condemn the building

“We have to suffer for other people’s stupidity. That’s how I feel. Not all of us are f-- up.

We’re just trying to make it in a small town,” Archuleta said.

 

 

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