ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico congresswoman is working to secure millions of dollars of federal funding to help a wide range of projects in the state. They range from public safety, to helping the homeless, education, and helping feed the hungry.

Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury narrowed down the list of applicants from 200 projects to 15. Now, she’s asking they be included in the 2023 appropriations bill. If approved, these organizations could be looking at an influx of around $23M.

“In 2019, we had about 200 families we were serving a month. Over the course of COVID, we’ve increased to over 650 families a month. And actually, this past May was our biggest month that we’ve had,” says David Smith, president of the East Mountain Food Pantry. The pantry is just one of the organizations submitted for funding.

If passed—and selected—the pantry would stand to gain $875,000 dollars; money Smith says would be crucial to expanding their operation. “Right now we’re in a strip mall and we’re kind of limited in the number of people we can serve and we’re hoping that being able to build a purpose-built building that will be able to serve more people with the volunteers that we currently have,” Smith says. He guesses this expansion would help them serve around 1300 families—an important undertaking in an area where Smith says 25 percent of the population is at the poverty level and are food insecure. This is just one of more than a dozen projects Representative Stansbury is fighting for to be included in the upcoming budget. “We know that with the projects that we’ve put forward that we’ll be addressing public safety, we’ll be addressing health care, behavioral health, and all of these incredibly important needs in our communities,” Stansbury says.

Other projects on the list include funding for the Albuquerque Adult Learning Center, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, Albuquerque Homeless Youth Center Construction, the Albuquerque Sobering Center, Albuquerque Veterans Transitional Housing Campus, equipment to fentanyl off the streets, the Mobile Crisis Team, and many others.

“I think all of us can agree, that crime and public safety is amongst the biggest needs and so we really prioritized public safety,” Stansbury says.

“The need continues, even now that the COVID is pretty much over, the need still continues to grow,” Smith says. While there are 15 projects currently on the list, it doesn’t mean each one will win funding. The House Appropriations Committee will weigh the requests, and make the final decision. The process will likely take months, with the earliest final consideration of bills projected to take place in late fall.