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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

The Skyview Apartments crisis

Belongings left by displaced residents at Skyview Apartments off Jerry Murphy Rd. in Pueblo, Colo. Photo by Cidonia Ponce.

By Cidonia Ponce

We live in a world where we are subject to a crisis now and then, but for some, it happens more often than others. In the Belmont area of Pueblo, Colo., lies an apartment complex that has served the Belmont community for more than 35 years, known as the Skyview apartments. Only recently, the establishment had a crisis as significant as this one in many years.

On Feb. 2 of this year, the management of Skyview apartments issued around 85 three-day eviction notices due to the breakdown of their sewage and heating systems, leaving many residences without access to heat or water. 

Brooke Vigil has been employed with Skyview Apartments for five years and is currently the property manager and mentioned that, even though water lines have broken in the past, they’ve never had one come close to this. 

“We haven’t had a crisis to this extent before,” Vigil commented. “The major issue with this water break is that it had backed up water into the boiler room, causing the boiler to be submerged under water.” 

Because of this extreme issue, management evacuated affected residents, and as of today, most residents have vacated the building. 

“It’s projected to take at least a few months before we’ll be able to complete the repairs to get water and heat back on,” Vigil explained. 

Multiple people who had to vacate the Skyview residence contacted the Posada for assistance, a nonprofit organization that addresses people experiencing homelessness in Pueblo. Since the outreach number was beyond what the Posada could provide in temporary housing and hotel vouchers, a proposal for emergency funds was requested. On Feb. 13, the City of Pueblo issued $50,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Posada in response to this crisis. 

Haley Robinson, public affairs director of Pueblo’s City Council, commented on the issue giving more information about this emergency ordinance and how the funds were dispersed. 

“The $50,000 will not fully cover all of the needs of the 85 displaced families by the incident with Skyview apartments, but it will provide considerable aid to assist with support for shelter and housing,” Robinson said.

One of the displaced residents, Loveliah Quintana, shared her insight and the challenges that she had to face. 

“The issue first started when I noticed that the first two days, the heat and the water were not working at all,” Quintana commented. “Frequently, [management] turns off the water for repairs, so I thought that’s what it was.”

Quintana explained that she went days without notice and eventually read a Facebook post regarding the eviction. “I had no idea; I didn’t hear anything about it,” Quintana states. “Eventually, I asked people outside the apartment building, and they confirmed the notice, and later when I went back that night, I finally found the notice that said we had three days to get out.”

When considering the aftermath of this severe crisis, Quintana comments on how she could cope and the challenges this may have on other families. 

“It was very stressful, but luckily everything fell into place, and I was able to move out in three days. I know that isn’t how it went for a lot of people. A lot of them have families and kids that had to get out and probably didn’t have anywhere to go,” Quintana explained. “I feel like management could have done a little bit better as far as having a longer eviction notice to get everyone out of there.”

Although not much damage was done to the apartments, many families had to leave their stuff behind and dispose of their personal belongings because of the short eviction notice. 

Skyview management hired Clean It Out LLC to dispose of the damages correctly. A current employee, Jenifer, comments on her responsibility as a cleaning crew member. 

“The tenants threw away all of their belongings instead of taking them with them, maybe they couldn’t, or maybe they wanted to start fresh,” Jenifer commented. “They put their belongings right in front of the dumpster, and now the trash company cannot take the actual trash cans until we get rid of everything that’s in front of them.”

The dumpsters on each side of Skyview apartments are filled to the brim with trash, and Jenifer talked about getting all the garbage disposed of. “This is actually the second roll-off; we’re probably going to need at least four more before we are even close to getting all of this stuff out of the way,” Jenifer stated.

Skyview Property Manager Vigil was able to comment on the ongoing challenges of this crisis and how they will move on. 

“It’s mostly just trying to help everyone find somewhere else to go. We did have a lot of upset people, which is more than understandable,” Vigil explained. “At this point, we’re just on standby for the repairs; we must wait for the snow to melt so they can start digging and start the process. We don’t even know how long the project is going to take until they are able to get that building up and running again.”

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