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Albuquerque Opens Center of "Hope" for Homeless Population

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022   

In the midst of the pandemic, hope was in the air as construction proceeded on a one-of-a-kind housing project to serve a portion of Albuquerque's homeless community.

A state-of-the-art facility called Hope Village north of downtown recently opened its doors, offering 42 residents housing, along with mental, behavioral and medical services.

Abby Long, program manager for Hope Village, believes there is a social benefit to having services centralized, rather than spread around the city, which is a typical situation for the unhoused.

"They all signed leases, they all have their own apartments, their own agency and autonomy," Long outlined. "Because with scattered-site housing it's very isolating and can be very depressing, so we wanted to make sure that we are offering a different community."

Hope Village is a $12 million collaborative effort between the city, county and financing agencies spearheaded by Hopeworks, a nonprofit focused on ending homelessness. Long would like to see New Mexico achieve the same success as Utah, which reduced its homeless population from 2,000 in 2005 to around 200 by 2015, by providing shelter and services.

Because it is brand-new construction and not retrofitted, Long pointed out the architecture allowed trauma-informed design, which is intended to promote greater well-being for occupants.

"It's developed so that people that have experienced a lot of trauma feel safer," Long noted. "There are small little things around windows and the ways the hallways are organized and with lines of sight."

Rachel Rodriguez, chief development and communications officer for HopeWork and the Hope Center, said the project is a new approach for the city toward homelessness, because criminalization does not work. She added before any construction began, a yearlong discussion was held with the area's neighbors to get their buy-in.

"We were really fortunate that they weren't wholeheartedly 'not in my backyard,' " Rodriguez acknowledged. "They said, 'OK, if this is going to be here, we would like to have some input and to ask some questions and to offer some suggestions.' "

According to HopeWorks, 63% of extremely low income households in Albuquerque are headed by a person identifying as Black, Indigenous or a person of color, with a household income of about $24,000 per year for a family of four.

Disclosure: The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness contributes to our fund for reporting on Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, and Housing/Homelessness Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

References:  
Hope Village 2022

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