ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque is hosting 20 block parties in neighborhoods across the metro. The Office of Equity and Inclusion kicked off their Community Block Parties program in October with the purpose of getting resources directly to communities in need. Now, they’re finally starting to see positive results.
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The events allow opportunities for attendees to fill out rental assistance applications, job applications in the City of Albuquerque’s hiring bus, and receive assistance from community organizations ranging from healthcare, SNAP benefits, and mental health services. Nichole Rogers of the Office of Equity and Inclusion who oversees the events said they were very intentional with where the community events are held.
“We used our Social Vulnerability Index to identify the communities in the most need right now. That takes everything into account, from social determinants of health, all kinds of different things that data looks at which is why you’ll see we’re in the neighborhoods that we’re in,” Rogers said.
The key to success, in this case, Rogers said, is consistency. “It doesn’t work if you just show up one Saturday and say ‘Yay, we did it!’ It has to be continual for the community to actually feel it and for us to actually feel it in the data,” Rogers said.
She said they also look at data to see what kind of resources that specific community needs. “Are we seeing a lot of domestic violence calls? Then we’ll make sure we have domestic violence resources. If we see drug and alcohol issues in that neighborhood, we have Discovering Greatness,” Rogers said.
Now that they are halfway done with the Community Block Party events, the department is finally able to receive feedback from the community. “We’re seeing the community is actually happy that we’re in their neighborhoods,” Rogers said. “A lot of folks still have transportation issues, and it’s hard for them to navigate to get to the location to get these resources, so it’s really about us coming to them and then helping them along in these applications.”
Volunteers at the events help guide community members through the process of filling out applications or registering for programs. Rogers said they even follow-up with individuals if they had missing paperwork at the time of the block party.
“The City of Albuquerque is here for you. We’re really motivated to do more of this, really coming out of City Hall and coming to where you are and to help you get what you need not to just survive in our city but to be able to thrive,” Rogers said. “We’ve had people comment and tell us it’s much easier to apply here in this type of atmosphere. They don’t feel shamed, they don’t feel bad, they see other people doing it. It really fosters this community of we’re just here to help each other.”