ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A father and his four-year-old son who fell on hard times during the pandemic are off the streets and in their own apartment, thanks to an Albuquerque police officer.

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“They lived out of their van with all their belongings and everything they had for a while until their van broke down and was, unfortunately, towed with all their belongings inside it,” said Officer Jordan Moenaert with the Albuquerque Police Department.

Officer Moenaert came across the father and son in the middle of the night at the Alvarado Transit Center as they were trying to figure out where to spend the night. The officer tried to connect them with local resources but it was too late at night.

So instead, he took them to a local motel and paid out of his own pocket to put them up for a few nights while he got to work finding a long-term solution. Officer Moenaert contacted the coordinator of the city’s Project Echo program which connects people with local resources. “Her and I made a lot of phone calls to a lot of different people asking for help,” Officer Moenaert said.

Other groups helped keep the family afloat in the meantime including the John Marshall Center, the Silver Street Market and downtown community members. “I know two months doesn’t sound like that long of a period of time but for someone that’s living out of a motel and not sure that they’re going to be able to stay for another night,” Officer Moenaert said.

Finally, they secured a housing voucher through a program called Linkages for the family to move into their own apartment. “Just last week, it was a pretty special day. We got some donations of some furniture and kitchen utensils. Just so happy for the family. They’ve been through so much, to see the stability and the weight lifted off their shoulders,” said Officer Moenaert.

The city also helped register the boy in pre-school and connected the family with other support services.