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Mayor Keller, UNM, UNMH Launch Innovative Partnership on Homelessness

Working together to address homelessness, potential shelter facilities, and access to care and resources

February 13, 2019

Mayor Tim Keller today joined University of New Mexico (UNM) President Garnett Stokes and University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC) Chancellor Dr. Paul Roth to launch an innovative new partnership to address the challenge of homelessness in Albuquerque.

Together, they signed a letter of intent that highlights the City’s recognition of homelessness and its underlying causes as an area of significant need for the community and commits the trio of deeply-rooted Albuquerque institutions to further action. It also points to the historic and ongoing commitment UNM and UNMHSC have made to collaborating with community partners like the Albuquerque Police Department and the County of Bernalillo in tackling this issue.

Mayor Tim Keller said, “Homelessness is a harsh reality in Albuquerque and we've heard from people from all walks of life that our city is ready to stop looking away and start finding solutions. Through this partnership, we are combining our resources and capabilities to start addressing fundamental needs from creating centralized facilities that allow for safety and dignity to increasing access to behavioral health and addiction services. We have a long road ahead of us, but today we took some important first steps with our partners in the community.”

“Addressing homelessness in Albuquerque is an all-hands-on-deck effort, and starts by bringing together the greatest levels of expertise across our community,” said UNM President Garnett S. Stokes. “Today, we at UNM are reaffirming our commitment to tackling one of our most pressing social challenges by partnering with the City of Albuquerque. Together we will work to find innovative and effective solutions to improve the lives of those experiencing homelessness, as well as understanding its root causes.”

“As the state’s only academic health center, we have a significant role in the health and safety of our communities,” says Paul Roth, MD, MS, chancellor of the UNM Health Sciences Center. “We are so pleased to be partnering with the City of Albuquerque to provide support to address homelessness. We have a critical shortage of services, providers and resources in New Mexico and today we are taking proactive steps to address these shortages and raise the overall health of our community.”  

The letter lays out three ways the group will work together to address homelessness:

  1. Taking a comprehensive approach to the needs and concerns of people experiencing homelessness, including the underlying causes, the need for additional emergency shelter facilities, and the need for access to high-quality, coordinated health care, behavioral health, and addiction-related services;
  2. Continuing support for the existing APD-UNMHSC Crisis Intervention Team program to help respond to populations in crisis and the collaboration between Bernalillo County and UNMHSC to expand emergency behavioral health support capabilities and capacity; and
  3. Launching a Steering Committee to identify opportunities to collaborate in the above areas and to carry out the action necessary to realize the goals of the letter, and to reach out to other partners for additional collaboration as needed.

View a PDF of the City of Albuquerque and University of New Mexico Letter of Intent.