Mayor Richard J. Berry joined with Albuquerque Heading Home volunteers, organizers, and participants to celebrate the program’s first anniversary.
ALBUQUERQUE- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry joined with Albuquerque Heading Home volunteers, organizers, and participants to celebrate the program’s first anniversary. The announcement today includes the critical fact that the program has successfully housed a total of 76 people, along with the goal to house an additional 90 people before the second anniversary in February 2013.
In February 2011 Mayor Berry launched the Heading Home initiative to address chronic homelessness in the City of Albuquerque. Community partners include representatives from homelessness services, affordable housing, law enforcement, non-profits and policy makers. The original goal was to house 75 of Albuquerque’s most vulnerable people, those most likely to die on the streets of Albuquerque.
"It is absolutely inspiring to see these human success stories playing out right in front of us," said Mayor Berry. "These folks have been through a lot, and with the unprecedented support of this community they now have a safe and secure place to call home, to get the support they need and to work towards wellness."
The Mayor’s Albuquerque Heading Home program creates a unique and innovative approach which is both pragmatic and compassionate. Collaboration is the key, guided by three central principals; prioritizing by vulnerability, providing housing immediately, providing specific, appropriate and sustainable support services – all while saving valuable and scarce resources.
"This program is about the smart way to do the right thing. Not only can we improve the lives of those in our community, but we can save valuable resources at the same time." said Mayor Berry.
A recent study by the University of New Mexico’s Institute for Social Research measured the use and cost of services for the first 33 tenants housed in the study found:
• Emergency Shelter costs decreased by about 93 percent
• Jail costs by almost 96 percent (that’s about a $43,000 of savings per person)
• Outpatient visits by about 40 percent (that’s a decrease of about $48,400)
An additional component is the human experience. As a result of one of the program participants being featured on a local news program a father was reunited with his daughter. The daughter, who hadn’t spoken to her father in 14 years, thought he had died and when she saw the feature she immediately reached out to him.
For more information, to volunteer, or to donate to this program go to abqheadinghome.org