scp-photo

Multi-Agency Partnership Housing Record Number of Homeless

City, County, State and community partners working to open fifth Wellness Hotel next week.

Nov. 26, 2020

The City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, the State of New Mexico, UNMH, Presbyterian, Lovelace, and numerous non-profit organizations have established a coordinated effort to tackle the challenges the unhoused population face during the current public health crisis. Meeting daily, the group has created a system that effectively identifies individuals that are displaying COVID-19 symptoms or who may have been exposed and moves quickly to limit their exposure to others and ensure their access to testing, care, and other resources to support recovery and contain any potential outbreaks.

“As COVID cases spike and cold weather sets in, homeless people are facing huge challenges, and we’ve got to get them housed,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We are absolutely thankful for the collaboration we’re seeing in this partnership.”

First Lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller said, “We know these have been tremendously challenging times for families all over the city, and we are so grateful for all of the individuals, families, and organizations who are stepping up in new ways to support members of our community experiencing homelessness.”

As a result of their work, over 630 people, more than at any time before, were in emergency shelters earlier this week. A total of four hotels have been established to help support the Westside Emergency Housing Center by placing seniors or those with chronic conditions in different locations.

Bernalillo County will continue to partner with city, state, federal and tribal governments to help us get through the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency,” says Bernalillo County Public Safety Deputy County Manager Greg Perez. “This is an unprecedented public health emergency that requires all of us to do our part. Please stay home as much as possible, wear a mask in public, keep your distance from others and wash your hands regularly.”

With the recent change in temperatures, a fifth hotel will begin operation on Monday, November 30, to help meet the increased demand cold weather brings. This fifth hotel will be a Wellness Hotel for non-COVID positive people including families and seniors.

“The State of New Mexico has partnered and remained in constant communication with the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to support COVID relief efforts in the state’s largest community,” said CYFD Secretary and Emergency Shelter & Food Program Director Brian Blalock. “Our collaborative, solutions-based approach has helped more than 1,000 New Mexicans recover safely in isolation with our comprehensive sheltering efforts in the Albuquerque area including first responders, healthcare workers and those who could not otherwise self-isolate to recover. We remain committed to offering aid and relief alongside our county and city partners.”

Those in isolation at each of the hotels are provided with three meals a day, case management to identify permanent housing options, and WiFi for children to do schoolwork.

“It goes without saying that none of this can be accomplished without the hard work of the staff at the hotels. Staff provides operational support and medical supervision around the clock, seven days a week,” said Carol Pierce, Director of Family and Community Services. “Words are not enough when trying to express the gratitude for the teams of dedicated employees at each of the hotels and the work they accomplish each day.”
The City remains committed to providing essential services during the duration of the current public health emergency. If you or someone you know needs help call 311 to be connected with vital services.