Woman living in condemned home for two weeks relocated with community’s help

‘It took a village of people,’ Christian Assistance Ministries representative tells KSAT

SAN ANTONIO – A woman whose home was deemed unlivable is staying in a warm place with electricity for the first time in two weeks.

On Jan. 17, Mary Lou Sandoval’s home, a four-plex just north of downtown, was damaged by a fire.

Sandoval has toughed it out at home even as temperatures continued to drop until Feb. 1.

“Dear lord, it was very hard. I just had to pray and cry. I was wrapped up when I got a chance. I would get all my blankets, you know,” she said.

The community helped Sandoval get by with warm meals and other essentials over the last two weeks.

Former neighbors urged Sandoval to move out of the dangerous conditions. However, she was hesitant as she had a lifetime of belongings and four cats that she did not want to leave behind.

Valerie Salas with Christian Assistance Ministries told KSAT it took a village of people to help relocate Sandoval.

Adult Protective Services is paying for an extended hotel stay that allows pets.

“I was so happy I said, ‘Thank you, Jesus. We’re not going to leave without my children,’” said Sandoval.

Additionally, Christian Assistance Ministries rented a storage unit for Sandoval’s belongings so she’d feel more comfortable leaving. Volunteers from Pay It Forward helped pack things and move them to the storage unit, all of which were necessary to get Sandoval out of the dangerous conditions.

“Hypothermia can kick in. She’s an elderly woman. She was sleeping in that apartment in freezing temperatures. Even with my lights my light on my phone and everything it was pitch black in there” said Salas with CAM.

Salas said Sandoval will likely stay in the hotel for a few weeks. It’ll give the Alamo Area Council of Government time to figure out if the four-plex will be repaired or if Sandoval will need a new place altogether.


Community members working to help woman living in condemned home damaged by fire

About the Authors

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

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