Cora Cardenas was 63 years old when she got into a legal dispute with her landlord. Cardenas says the landlord decided Cardenas’ one-bedroom apartment was better suited for the landlord’s granddaughter. “I was homeless and I had nowhere to go,” says Cardenas, now 87.
Her saving grace came in the form of the Senior Resource Development Agency (SRDA), which at the time built, in conjunction with the city of Pueblo and the Pueblo Housing Authority, the Richmond and Union Plaza senior citizen apartment complexes consisted of 97 units adjacent to the Joseph H. Edwards Active Adult Center. It was also an SRDA project in the heart of the historic Union Avenue district.
Cardenas lives in the Union Plaza complex. “I was one of the first ones in the building when it opened in 1994,” she says.
She got into her predicament partly as a result of what happened more than three decades earlier. 1973 must have been a terrible year for her. First Cardenas’ husband, Dominic, died of a stroke at the all too young age of 49. Then on Dec. 11 of that year, one of her four children–her son, Sammy, a Navy fireman at the time–was killed in a fire aboard ship while serving in the Vietnam War.
A life lived
Before that fateful year, Cardenas remembers fondly that she was living in Pueblo with her family in a “beautiful dream house” on Lancaster Drive with “big bedrooms.” But after her husband died she could no longer take care of the place and moved into an apartment.