“I feel safe in the building where we live,” Rosaury “Abby” Alamo said. “And it is close to the school where my daughter goes.”
“I have a roof for my daughter,” she said, “And gradually I [got] everything else.
Her family found more than a roof at the Apartments at Billings Forge in Hartford’s Frog Hollow section; they found a community and stability.
Abby, her daughter Rashell, 8, and husband Jose Capeles have lived in the Apartments for two years. Abby is Jose’s caregiver.
In addition to the housing units, the Billings Forge complex is home to Firebox restaurant. In the sprawling complex, the nonprofit Billings Forge Community Works (BFCW) operates its programs The Kitchen at Billings Forge), Farmers’ Market at Billings Forge, community Garden, The Studio and Clubhouse.
BFCW’s mission is to empower the residents and neighborhood through nutrition education, accessible and affordable healthy foods, culinary job training, and youth and community programs.
Abby said they take part in the Clubhouse activities, including cooking classes and Family Night Out.
Conditions were not always easy. “We were bad economically,” Abby said.
“I was a few weeks in the shelter and then moved in with my friend,” she said. [Abby and Rashell] “lived with her for five months.” She said Jose lived in the shelter during those five months.
Then, Abby learned about The Apartments at Billings Forge from friends.
“Billings Forge, for us, is community. [It is] friendly and welcoming,” Abby said. “[It is] quiet family living,”