More than two months after a fire devastated the Comal County Crisis Center, the association is slowly trying to bounce back with help from the community.
Since the fire rendered the building that houses victims of domestic violence and sexual assault uninhabitable, the center has received an outpouring of support from local businesses, organizations and individuals seeking to help financially and through d other donations.
“I have been and remain impressed with what this community can do for people in need,” said Julie Strentzsch, CEO of the Comal County Crisis Center. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Heritage Homes and Ranches, with the help of Gruene Grove owner Chris Rue, raised approximately $2,000 through their Pup Pup Parade event, and 92.1 KNBT-FM used proceeds from their annual Americana Music Jam to help the center by donating over $70,000.
So far, the non-profit organization has received around $100,000 through various charitable giving campaigns from the community, but there is still a long way to go.
The building and land it was on was insured for about $1.2 million, but the estimated cost of the property was closer to $1.9 million.
With over $1 million in damages, the center is trying to make up the difference.
Strentzsch said rising property values and unexpected replacement costs due to inflation are driving the balance left after insurance coverage.
“(If you’re in) the non-profit world and you own a building and you’re worried about it, insure your property for replacement costs – it’s worth the extra money – don’t cut corners there” , Strentzsch said. “Two years ago this might not have been a big deal, but with everything after the pandemic and the cost of supplies going up – (the financial loss is) considerable.”
The source of the fire which ravaged part of the building came from a room located at the back of the establishment. Inside the unoccupied room was a pack-n-play that caught fire, however, there were no accelerators nearby that could have set the park on fire. The fire was declared accidental.
All staff and residents evacuated the building safely, but the building remained unusable.
In the meantime, the center was able to find temporary accommodation by housing them with volunteers willing to house them for a period of 30 days.
Moving every 30 days proves stressful for the team and the lack of stability causes a lot of turmoil and worry among their dependents, but the crisis center is working hard to find a better solution.
“We are always reviewing our options and looking for the best one that will meet our needs,” Strentzsch said.
The services offered by the crisis center such as counseling and support groups are still available to those in need through a church willing to provide them with the space they need to continue their operations.
Fundraisers are still ongoing to raise funds to help the crisis center find a more stable solution. On July 24, Water 2 Wine New Braunfels is hosting the You’re a LifeSaver benefit for the crisis center, and coming up, the nonprofit will host its annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes event.
At the moment, the center needs volunteers willing to help clear some of the brush that has accumulated in the absence of occupation of the building and to clean up some of the damage left by the fire.