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City Continues to Reach Out to Struggling Families with Support in Pandemic

Mayor Keller, City and Community Leaders give updates on public health, enforcement, and key investments in financial empowerment, housing for the homeless

Jan. 12, 2020

Over the past seven days, City of Albuquerque compliance officials conducted 135 compliance interactions with businesses and individuals regarding State- and City-enacted Public Health Orders (PHO).That pushes the total compliance interactions, which include warnings, notices of violation, and/or citations, to more than 740 in the past month.

The City’s compliance officials are focusing on compliance of outdoor dining sites to ensure that outdoor tents are in alignment with the State’s Public Health Order.

Fire Marshal Gene Gallegos said, “With the weather getting colder, our team is monitoring the outdoor dining tents more closely to ensure all follow the current requirements.”

Mayor Tim Keller also gave an update on the vaccine effort, saying, “We’re encouraging everyone to sign up on the State’s site to receive the vaccine now and to get their vaccine when they are called to do so.”

The State of New Mexico announced this week that they are entering Phase 1B, during which the vaccine will be available to those 75 or older, those younger than 75 who face severe risks from the coronavirus, and some essential workers who are not able to work remotely. It also includes anyone in Phase 1A who has not yet been vaccinated. For more information on the State’s vaccine distribution plans, visit https://cv.nmhealth.org/covid-vaccine/.

Mayor Keller and Eduardo Esquivel-Gonzalez, from the NM Dream Team, also outlined the details of a new City effort to help hard-working families who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. The free Financial Navigators program is a partnership with national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), and local organizations NM Dream Team and the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

Financial Navigators are available now to meet with residents by phone, providing resources to manage income disruptions and other financial concerns. Financial Navigators help residents one-on-one to prioritize personal financial issues, identify immediate action steps to manage expenses and maximize income, and make referrals to services provided by state and local government and more than 100 community-based providers and partners.

“COVID-19 has done real damage to families who saw income disappear or were forced to choose between their safety and their pocketbooks. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so we’re providing personal Navigators to help find the right resources for each individual situation and get folks in touch with the services they need,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

NM Dream Team is providing the staff for the navigator program and has both English and Spanish-speaking Navigators available. All languages can be served via telephonic interpretation.

Eduardo Esquivel-Gonzalez, New Mexico Dream Team Co-Executive Director, said, ”NM Dream Team is excited to collaborate with the City of Albuquerque and the Center for Financial Empowerment to provide financial guidance and supports to City residents in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.  Improving the financial stability of the most vulnerable Burqueños, left behind or overlooked by other programs and suffering money problems because of the pandemic, is essential to our city’s recovery."

Residents can access these remote services by completing the web form at http://www.cabq.gov/finnav or calling 311 to sign up. 

Before closing the press conference, the Mayor announced an innovative new Fast-Track to Supportive Housing to help people experiencing homelessness move more quickly off the streets. The trial program is working with over 200 residents, about half of whom are children, in one of the City’s five Wellness Hotels, and has already successfully shifted one local woman into permanent affordable housing.

“Our COVID response for people experiencing homelessness is focused on access to testing, care and shelter that has controlled outbreaks in this vulnerable population, especially compared to other cities,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Now, working with partners in the community, we’re removing barriers and making it easier for folks – and even children – to get into safe permanent housing. This is just a glimpse into the successes we will be able to expand and institutionalize when community providers come together at the Gateway Centers.”

Download slides from today’s presentations.