30+ families face more challenges after forced out of Española apartments

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ESPAÑOLA, N.M. — Dozens of families in Española have faced setback after setback, and now many don’t know where they’re going to live.

The Santa Clara Apartments are condemned. More than 30 families had to leave on short notice right before the holidays.

The city said tenants received two weeks notice and were told to vacate by Nov. 21.

“They gave us a six-day notice,” former tenant April Martinez said..

She said she panicked.

“There’s families there with children that have no transportation, no money.”

The apartments are for low-income tenants. People KOB 4 met at the complex said many have nowhere to go. Some are disabled. Many had to leave belongings when they vacated, and now those items have been stolen. Some, including children, are sleeping in cars.

Española Mayor John Ramon Vigil said there have been many issues at the Santa Clara Apartments, but fire code violations were the final straw, as many feared a fire could be deadly.

He said the city gave the owner opportunities to fix the problems, but he didn’t cooperate.

Former residents describe trash, drug use, homeless staying in and around the building and police were frequently called out to the property.

Even still — it was home.

“Two days before Thanksgiving they made us leave our homes — basically, ‘take whatever you can,'” Martinez said. “I was worried. I have family, but that’s not the case with everybody there.”

The mayor said, at least initially, they got everyone a place to stay. Many people went to stay in hotels.

But Martinez said she and many others were shocked a second time when they she said were recently kicked out of the hotel they were in with no explanation.

The staff at the Rodeway Inn told KOB 4 they had no comment.

“Maybe some people there were struggling with addiction and other things, but that doesn’t make them bad people,” Martinez said.

Many former residents are calling this string of events heartless, as Christmas approaches.

Johnny Trujillo said, after getting forced out of the apartment complex, he will be able to stay at the Rodeway Inn for a maximum of three more weeks.

“If they throw us out in three weeks, we don’t find a place, where are we going to go? We’ll probably end up on the street,” he said.

Many former tenants said they still haven’t gotten the USDA voucher that’s been promised.

“Nobody should ever have to go through this. It’s crazy,” Martinez said.

Former tenants said they received the notice to vacate from the apartment complex owner John Bosley. KOB 4 reached out to Bosley but did not hear back.