More than two months after a fire devastated the Crisis Center of Comal County, the nonprofit is slowly trying to bounce back with the help of the community.
Since the fire made 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 looking to help financially and through other donations.
“I have been and remain in awe of what this community can do for people who need it,” Crisis Center of Comal County CEO Julie Strentzsch said. “I have never seen anything like it.”
Heritage Homes and Ranches with the help of Gruene Grove owner, Chris Rue, raised about $2,000 through their Pup Pup Parade event, and 92.1 KNBT-FM used the profits from their annual Americana Music Jam to help the center by donating more than $70,000.
So far the nonprofit organization has received approximately $100,000 through various charitable giving campaigns from the community — but there is still more to be done.
The building and land it was on was insured for roughly $1.2 million but the estimated cost of the property was closer to $1.9 million.
With more than $1 million worth of damages, the center is left trying to make up the difference.
Strentzsch said rising property values and unforeseen replacement costs because of inflation is driving the balance left after insurance coverage.
“(If you’re in) the nonprofit world and you have a building that you own, 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 that consumed part of the building came from a bedroom toward the back of the facility. Inside the unoccupied room was a pack-n-play that caught fire, however, there were no accelerants nearby that could have set the playpen ablaze. The fire has been ruled an accident.
All staff members and residents evacuated the building safely, but the building was left unusable.
In the meantime the center has been able to find temporary living arrangements by housing them in homes of volunteers willing to host them for a 30-day period.
Moving every 30 days is proving to be stressful for the team and the lack of stability causes a lot of agitation and worry for those in their care, but the crisis center is working hard to find a better solution.
“We’re still reviewing our options and looking for the best one that will fit our needs,” Strentzsch said.
Services offered by the crisis center such as counseling and support groups are still being offered to those in need thanks to a church willing to provide them the space they need to continue their operations.
Fundraisers are still in the works to raise money to help the crisis center secure 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 hold their annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes event.
At the moment the center is in need of volunteers willing to help clear out some of the brush that has gathered in the absence of the building’s occupancy and clean some of the mess left behind from the fire.