A Safe Place – Leann McDonald
After several years of marriage to a physically and emotionally abusive man, Leann McDonald fled her small New Mexico hometown with her two children, ages 1 and 3, and headed to the safety of her brother's house in Albuquerque. Not long after arriving, Leann found a job and a roommate who agreed to pay half of the rent on a small house.
Six months into their 12-month lease, however, Leann's roommate left town. Leann struggled mightily to pay the full rent, which was more than half of what she was earning as a waitress. "I was picking up as many shifts as I could trying to pay the bills and save enough to pay for a deposit on a new place." It was an impossible task, and soon Leann and her children were back at her brother's house.
One day, a customer told Leann about a new apartment complex under construction, Silver Gardens. The affordable property was funded through MFA's Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and offers rents at amounts that low-income families can afford. Leann qualified for the very last available unit for households earning 30 percent or less of the Area Median Income.
"It was a miracle," Leann said. "I can't even describe how I felt when I got the keys and took my kids into that apartment. It was ours. It wasn't going to get ripped out from under us."
Not only did Silver Gardens provide Leann with stable housing, the property's management company hired her. Then in 2019, she came to work at MFA where she now monitors affordable properties all over the state. "Silver Gardens and the LIHTC program saved me," Leann said. "It is such a blessing to come full circle and to help give people the assistance they need to better themselves."