Rescue Mission opens new apartments, has to relocate in 2016

Pilot Home Apartments offer permanent, low-cost housing

EL PASO, Texas - If you want a room in some of El Paso's newest low-income housing, you might have to apply quickly, as rooms are filling up fast.

The apartments that recently went on the market are in a familiar location. They are on the second floor of the Rescue Mission of El Paso, a place mostly known as a community shelter.

Due to two big road projects: the $800-million extension of the Border Highway from downtown to Sunland Park, and Spur 1966, Director Blake Barrow said the Mission on Paisano will have to relocate by February 2016. Expansion of the second floor, individual rooms that rent for $295 a month, was recently completed.

People who live in Pilot Home Apartments on the second floor of the Rescue Mission said it's more than just a place to sleep.

Tammy Nettnay started paying less than $300 a month for her permanent home in June. Most rooms are single occupancy and include a bed, dresser, nightstand and desk. The rooms are being advertised on Craigslist, with utilities and three meals a day included with rent.

Rooms and living quarters are most comparable to dorm-style living. All the men and women have common areas where they can cook, they have to do chores and they get to spend a lot of time together.

"Everybody gets along. I mean, it's just like a little family up here," Nettnay said. "It's my home. It's the only home I've ever known and I get really emotional when they talk about tearing it down."

Residents can't drink or do any drugs while living in the apartments. As a recovering addict, Nettnay is just fine with that.

"Living here is the best thing anybody can do. You're safe, you're secure and you're protected," Nettnay said.

Nettnay said she signed a six month lease after an application process. Residents can't have income greater than $17,400 a year.

Barrow said the new primary location for the Mission in 2016 will be on the 900 block of Wyoming in Central El Paso. Residents have been told that even though their current homes will be demolished, apartments will be rebuilt at the new location.

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