Nonprofit to host weekend fundraiser to help expansion efforts

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Tenderlove Community Center has some very humble beginnings, and now some grand ambitions to help end homelessness here.

Celeste Pettine is a hair stylist, a mom, and an alcoholic.

“I needed a place to- for recovery,” said Pettine. 

She’s lived at the Tenderlove Recovery House for nearly eight months, and it was eight months ago she had her last drink.

“There’s a lot of broken women that I’ve met since being here and I – and I know I will continue to see that. But, this place is the only reason that I was able to get through the toughest times,” Pettine said. 

Not all struggle with addiction.

“The house that we were in was being sold, so we had to leave,” said Jennifer Barnett. 

Debbie Johnson founded Tenderlove Community Center nearly 10 years ago. It started as a training center to teach women tools to elevate themselves off the street.

But, in 2020, they bought their first house to provide another layer of support for homeless women.

“My goal is to make sure that we don’t see anybody under the bridge begging for money,” said Johnson. 

Johnson was once homeless herself, now says they are planning on closing on a second home that’s designated for homeless women with children this month.

“Every chore changes every single day, so you’re not repeating the same chore in one week,” said Pettine. 

Tenderlove Community Center has a 96% success rate of getting women off the street. They plan to expand and help men, too.

“This, to me, is not considered, when I walked in the door, a facility. This is a home with strong women that are there to take care of one another,” said Pettine. 

The community center is celebrating 10 years of work in the community next weekend with a fundraiser.

For more information, click here.