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City and Partners Working Together to Improve Outreach to the Unhoused Community

Network of organizations are collaborating to provide services, medical care, and housing support
February 08, 2024

Each year in January, the City supports the Coalition to End Homelessness to conduct the Point in Time Count (PIT) to take a census of people experiencing homelessness. While the count is a limited snapshot that does not capture the full extent of homelessness in Albuquerque, it serves as a valuable tool to guide outreach and services. It is also an opportunity for the City and its partners to make meaningful contact with folks on the street and try to get them the care and resources they need.

“The PIT count is a huge logistical undertaking every year, and it takes the entire network of homeless service providers,” said William Bowen, Albuquerque CoC Program Officer for the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. “The City of Albuquerque is one of the major members of this network, and we are grateful for the attention and effort they committed to helping us improve the count this year.”

“The PIT count helps our city’s application to HUD for important federal funding,” said Homeless Innovations Officer Maria Wolfe. “We are always looking at ways we can work together with the Coalition and our partners to learn from previous years, fill in gaps, and ultimately get better data.”

This year, the City implemented some new procedures to both connect with people in a meaningful way and try to secure a more accurate count. The Albuquerque Community Safety Department’s (ACS) Street Outreach division was a critical partner this year, working to administer surveys, get an accurate count, and connect people to resources during the PIT. ACS transported 47 people to shelter the week that the count was taking place.

“We are focused on doing outreach that turns into better outcomes for the community we serve,” said Jodie Jepson, Homelessness Liaison Administrator, Albuquerque Community Safety. “We are always focused on strengthening our partnerships to make sure we’re getting people the right resources, and leaning on our network to maximize the impact we can have on our community.”

In collaboration with The Center for Inclusive Health at The University of New Mexico Health and Health Sciences, the Street Medicine team works closely with ACS to provide medical care to people directly on the streets, treating them for a number of needs and making sure they have access to lifesaving medications and treatments they need.

“We are committed to caring for our community, and that includes connecting with people experiencing homelessness to make sure their medical needs are met,” said Lindsay Fox, MSPAS, PA-C. Fox is a physician assistant with UNM’s Department of Internal Medicine within the School of Medicine. “By closely coordinating our care and outreach with other groups and departments, we’re able to bridge gaps and get even more people the individual support they need.”

Altogether, this network of partners is collaborating not just during the PIT, but all year round to improve outreach processes to get people the help they need while working to ultimately get them into shelter or housing.

“This is a One Albuquerque effort that extends beyond just City departments,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “It takes all of us working together to have a real impact on our city’s most complex challenges, and this is a prime example of how we’ve adapted to our community’s needs to get them the help they need.”