ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new housing development trying to tackle homelessness is taking a new approach to the problem. While other housing options require residents to be clean of any drug or alcohol use, the new development, Hope Village, believes housing first is the solution to ending homelessness altogether.
“We believe that housing is a fundamental right and you can’t work on any other issues until you are housed. Once you are housed, that’s such a stabilizing factor then you can begin to tackle some of these other things and challenges in your life,” said Hopeworks CEO, Annam Manthiram.
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The construction of Hope Village comes through a partnership between various entities including the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and Hopeworks, which have helped develop the state’s first single-site permanent supportive housing that includes access to around the clock care. Residents will not be subjected to drug or alcohol testing which is different from other homeless places around town that mandate you are clean before you can stay there. Officials hope the new approach will give them the help they need to get off the streets.
“Particularly for those experiencing homelessness, they need a lot of wrap around care mental and behavioral services around the clock and that’s what this project represents its not just housing but it’s also the care that they need 24/7 whenever they need to stay healthy and housed,” Manthiram said.
A total of 42 residents are expected to begin moving into the facility on northwest Third Street before the end of the month, however, Hopeworks officials say although it’s a step in the right direction — it’s still not enough.
“Albuquerque needs at least five or six more of these kinds of units and so our hope is that this will be the model and that other agencies in the city, county, state can work together to build even more of these,” added Manthiram.
Officials say the ultimate goal is for residents to get clean, healthy, and eventually find a job. If they do then they can use their earnings to pay a portion of their rent but it isn’t a requirement. There is no time limit on how long residents can stay at the facility. The only requirements are they are homeless and have some sort of documented mental or behavioral health issue.