ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As temperatures drop, one New Mexico hospital is taking steps to protect unhoused people. This week, UNMH distributed hundreds of blankets in Albuquerque to prepare those for the winter. 

“We have the largest growing rate of homelessness of all of the fifty states,” says Sara Lucero, Development Director for ABQ Health Care for the Homeless. 

Albuquerque’s homeless population continues to grow and now that it’s getting colder outside, community members are banding together to keep them warm. Last week the UNM Hospital Community Engagement Team held their fourth annual emergency blanket give away event. 

“We have a blanket item that’s portable that can be put on their person or on a backpack and so these emergency blankets fit that need,” says Sally Acosta, UNM Hospital Community Engagement Liaison.  

More than 20 community partners got together this Wednesday to distribute these blankets in order to be ready for the colder months ahead. The community engagement team says they purchased 7,000 emergency blankets this year to give to different local organizations who will then spread them to those in need. Five-hundred of the portable, heat-reflecting wraps were also given to the nonprofit, Albuquerque health care for the homeless.  

“All of us are just one bad day away from homelessness and it can happen to anybody, especially as the cost of living and housing prices continue to increase,” says Lucero. 

The City of Albuquerque’s Gateway Center says they currently have 50 beds for women seeking shelter. They say it’s about helping those who can’t help themselves. 

“These are people who are trying to get to the very basics of their life right now, to have some kind of a footing,” says Azka Naru, Gateway Center Medical Respite Facility Manager. 

If you’d like to donate to the department, you can visit APS McKinney Vento or Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless.