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Fast-Track to Housing Program Successfully Transitions Individuals into Stable Housing

Program, operating at City Wellness Hotel, also serves as a learning lab for future housing efforts.

July 8, 2021

The Department of Family and Community Services, along with its partners, announced today that over 400 people in 100 households have participated in the “Fast-Track to Housing” program operating from one of the City’s Wellness Hotels and are in various stages of moving into affordable, permanent housing. To date, an estimated 144 people in 36 households have signed a lease - many of whom are families with young children.

“Each family and individual we are able to help find stable housing is a success,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Programs and partnerships like this are the prototype we will build on at the Gateway Centers, expanding our ability to remove barriers and help our formerly unhoused neighbors find permanent homes.”

Originally launched in December of 2020, the Fast-Track to Housing program was also designed to provide a learning lab in preparation for the Gateway Centers. The program provides wraparound services on-site at one of the wellness hotels and at a temporary shelter set up during the COVID pandemic that has provided non-congregate shelter to people experiencing homelessness. Due to the unprecedented housing need for families with children, the wellness hotel and the housing program will be extended for another year.

The Fast-Track to Housing initiative brings together key resources that are often scarce and fragmented into a cohesive site-based framework to meet the needs of each individual with the goal of securing supportive and long-term housing. The City is collaborating with partners on this successful initiative, administering housing vouchers and Case Navigators that provide on-site support:

· Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless provides a City-funded housing specialist to support the complex transition process from homelessness to housing
· UNM Office of Community Health provides Pathways Case Navigators to support the assembly of documents and help connect people to services they need
· City added $3 million to increase the supply of supportive housing vouchers
· Heading Home and Cuidando Los Niños administering $2 million in Rapid Rehousing vouchers
· HopeWorks administering $1 million in City-funded permanent supportive housing vouchers

"Our experience at the Wellness-2 hotel was really amazing. All the staff were really helpful to me and my kids. Everyone worked really hard to help us. COVID made things difficult, but they still helped us with things like referrals, finding doctors and getting transportation. These people didn't even know us. I can't say enough good things about them," said Melanie Alvarez. The family is now housed through a rental assistance voucher provided by the City through Cuidando los Ninos.

Three Wellness Hotels were established to ensure the safety of those without homes during the pandemic. Vaccination clinics have been provided at all sites. In addition to the fast-track to housing program, an estimated additional 47 households from the wellness hotels have also transitioned to housing or reunited with family.