ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – After two years of preparation, the first-ever homeless shelter in Rio Arriba County is set to open this week. Like everything else, it’s under tight restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Española Pathways Shelter has to limit the number of people they can let in and help at this time but owners are just looking forward to getting the doors open no matter what. Ralph Martinez and former state representative Roger Montoya have been working on this project since 2018 and in just a few days the doors can open thanks to a lot of help from the community.

Once they open they will have to follow social distancing guidelines for the rooms and everyone inside will have to wear a mask. The building was meant for 10 of each gender and two families at a time but restrictions have limited them to 25%. So, a lot of changes needed to be made in order for them to meet new standards.

“Getting things all lined up in that way for us to be able to get to this point and rearranging what our vision and thoughts were to fit today’s needs was quite the challenge,” said Martinez.

While the doors of the shelter haven’t officially opened, they did purchase a motel across the street and have been helping people transition from homelessness that way for nearly a year. Two men, two women, and one family are set to move on opening day, Thursday, February 11th.