Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Las Cruces man buys first house

LAS CRUCES – Five years ago Isaiah Caffaro was 16 and homeless. At night he often slept in a playground in Young Park – all of his earthly belongings piled on top of him so that he would wake up quickly if someone tried to steal them during the night.

Last month, shortly after his 21st birthday, he signed the closing papers of his first home. It wasn’t easy for him, and he certainly had some help along the way. But while sitting in the Doña Ana Title Company parking lot, he tearfully called his relatives to tell them the big news.

When asked to look back on the lessons life taught him, he says emphatically, “Never stop.

“I mean, if I stop, if I just gave up life, if I just let everything work on me as it could have been, I might not have bought the house,” said Caffaro. “I may still be homeless, I haven’t got my kids – so much could have happened. I mean, I could have lost myself in drugs, I could have been in a gang. I could have been anything. Just never stop. “

A tough upbringing

Caffaro describes his upbringing as “kind of rough”.

He said he never really felt comfortable, and he has no home to be. When he was 8 years old, his mother left the family.

“We just kept bouncing around all over the place, you know,” he told Sun News. “It was never a place to have, that I could actually have called my home – and a place where we settled.”

It didn’t get any better as he got older; it got worse. His mother went in and out of his life.

“And then, at 14, life kind of started to fall apart,” he said. “And I found myself in a situation where I was without a home and without a place to stay. I went to friends and stayed with them. “

It could only take so long. Eventually he had no place to stay and became homeless. That’s how he slept in the park.

Isaiah Caffaro with fiancé Ashly Ramirez Gonzales and daughter Yeneareli Caffaro stand in front of their home in Las Cruces on Thursday, January 6, 2021.

Taking a break

While still in Mayfield High School, Caffaro began working for Dickerson’s Catering. Since he didn’t have a car, he had to walk to work at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum – about two miles each way.

He started in a low position and took on shifts when he could. Caffaro graduated from Las Montañas Charter High School in 2018. By then he had saved enough money to buy a car.

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“And I remember the first time I drove to work,” he said. His boss Marci Dickerson said: “What is that?”

“‘My car?’ She says, ‘Well it doesn’t have a current registration. Does it have insurance?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And she went and looked at the tires and said, ‘This is unsafe.’ And she said: ‘How about that? We go, we insure your car, we make new tires. Because if you want to be on the road, you have to be safe.’ “

Dickerson paid for the new tires, insurance, and registration

Start looking up

About a year before he became homeless, he met his now-fiancé Ashley Ramirez Gonzales. She was with Isaiah the whole time. At one point – after finding out he was homeless – her mother offered to let him move in.

He soon found out that Ashley was pregnant with their first child.

“I found out we were pregnant the first time,” he said. “I only hatched my eyes in my truck. I called my father and cried. I couldn’t breathe. Only, snot runs down my face – just hysterically. And the first words my father said were, ‘You always know I’m here. Scream. You cry. I will sit and be here. Just shout it out. When you’re ready to speak, let me know. We’ll talk. ‘”

At that time the family was living in a mobile home. They had become financially more secure, but wanted more.

A baby is coming

Their daughter Yeneareli was born in December 2020. At that time, Isaiah began to think about a more suitable home for the family. Then, in late 2021, Ashly found out she was pregnant again. That created a sense of urgency in Isaiah – to find a home.

“I thought I had to start putting down roots,” Isaiah said. “I have to give my child a place that they call home, that they come to, that they know I’ll be – just everything in my life that I haven’t had. I wanted to make that available immediately. “

He said he was always looking for Zillow and looking for anything that could be found in Las Cruces and the surrounding area.

“I just have to do anything to get a house,” he said.

Yeneareli Caffaro will play the piano with fiancé Ashly Ramirez Gonzales in Las Cruces at Isaiah Caffaro's house on Thursday, January 6th, 2021.  Isaiah lived in his car in Young Park five years ago, when he was 16.  He is now 21 and has just bought his first house on Bonita Circle near Picacho Avenue.

A sense of urgency

With Dickerson’s help, he began exploring houses in Las Cruces. He saw several, he said, before finally settling on a house on Bonito Circle. The house was rented from Wanda Bowman.

Bowman, owner of Ashley HomeStore, said she learned about Isaiah and his family through Dickerson. Dickerson is also a broker and helped broker the deal

“I had a house that I wanted to sell because I had another house that I wanted to buy,” Bowman told Sun News. “And I heard the story of this young man from Marci. It has a lovely new kitchen that has been remodeled in it. This contains Walt Kowalski cabinets. And so it was a really nice home for him and his family to start with. “

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Caffaro qualified for about $ 20,000 less than the house was listed. That didn’t deter Bowman.

“We had to do the house at the same price he qualified for,” Bowman said. “So we moved the house up in price to make it work for him.”

By then he had worked his way up to a manager at Dickerson’s Catering.

“When I showed this house and they fell in love with the house but couldn’t afford the house … I said to them, ‘Let me see what I can do,'” said Dickerson. “I called Mrs. Bowman and told her the story of Isaiah. And immediately she asked me what he could afford. “

Yeneareli Caffaro will play the piano with fiancé Ashly Ramirez Gonzales in Las Cruces at Isaiah Caffaro's house on Thursday, January 6th, 2021.

Day of signing

As the day of the signing approached, Caffaro went to Doña Ana Title to sign the closing papers. The ink was still wet when he returned to his truck. He fed his daughter, buckled her up and then started talking on the phone, he said.

“I called my mom and – my mom had a broken relationship with everything that happened. I said, ‘Man, she’s my mother, I have to forgive her. You will only have one set of parents. I said to her, ‘Mom, I just closed the house, I got the key.’ And you could just hear it in her voice – you know, she started crying. “

Since then, Isaiah has taken the opportunity to build other bridges with family members in his life. He says it’s easier to forgive than to hold grudges.

“One great piece of advice I was given was to forgive yourself, not the other,” he said. “Because I’ve had so much regret in my life for hating or dislike for so many people, and they – they don’t care. It doesn’t keep you awake at night. “

It’s easier to leave the past behind, he said, and look to a better future. This is what Isaiah and his family want to achieve.

Damien Willis is the senior reporter for Las Cruces Sun-News. He can be reached at 575-541-5443, [email protected] or @DamienWillis on Twitter.

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