East-side business is taking back the community

Taking back the community

SAN ANTONIO -- In a high crime area a new business is opening in efforts to revitalize the neighborhood, hiring many people touched by the crime.

Crime has been a long standing issue on the east side where the homicide rate doubled in the first three months of this year. Many people working at the brand new Best Western are victims of the violence.

However, they’re now taking back their community.

When Amanda Garcia saw the coming soon sign at the new hotel on North New Braunfels she knew it was an opportunity she wanted to take advantage off. Soon quickly turned into now, with a new job and a new chance for the east side to say enough is enough.

“We all have to come together and get through this because we all have families and want to go home at the end of the day,” Garcia said.  

“Every single person in this hotel has had some sort of tragic trauma. But when you come into the hotel you would never know,” said Laya Rivera, the Director of Sales.

Rivera said all staff members live on the east side. Some have lost loved ones who were shot and killed others are facing extreme poverty.

“It gives them hope and strength to overcome it and believe there is something better for them,” Rivera said.  

The hotel is on New Braunfels Avenue, close to a corridor police call a hot spot for crime. It’s in this area a single convenience store logged more than 600 police calls in four years. An area people said drug deals, prostitution, and gang activity are all too common.

“You got to get up and go out and take a challenge,” Garica said.

Even while building, Rivera said they were dealing with theft. However, instead of giving up they cleaned up the property to keep criminals away.

Now some of the staff are working towards their masters and training to become managers.

The community meeting will be held next Monday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at Antioch Baptist Church.

(© 2016 KENS)


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