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New $5 Million Single-Site Housing Project Funded by Bernalillo County & City of Albuquerque

05/21/2019
5:32 PM
Breanna Anderson, (505) 228-5556, abizbybre@gmail.com

Bernalillo County - Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque are once again collaborating on a behavioral health-focused project through the Behavioral Health Initiative. Today they announced the Single-Site Housing Project, which they will collectively fund up to $5 million.

Bernalillo County will be contributing $1 million annually for services and $2 Million one-time dollars for capital investments. The City of Albuquerque’s one-time funding contribution of $2 Million will help cover construction costs, along with the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority’s contributions of more than $4 million to the project.

HopeWorks, formerly St. Martins, is the social service provider that will own and operate the facility – a groundbreaking is scheduled later this fall. This Single-Site Housing Project will focus on providing housing and intensive services for individuals with a behavioral health condition who are living on the streets or in a precarious housing situation, and have a recent history of frequently utilizing emergency room, detox services, and/or multiple bookings into the Metropolitan Detention Center.

“This priority population will include the more challenging cases in our community,” said Commission Vice Chair Debbie O’Malley. “These are folks who have intense behavioral health needs and require another layer of assistance to get into a home and to maintain their housing and stability. We know the need for these services is great, and are excited that this project will be the first single-site, permanent, supportive housing program in Bernalillo County.”

The housing program will provide “permanent supportive housing”, meaning that as long as housing and supportive services are needed, they will be provided.

“Studies show that this type of model can be life-changing for those involved,” said City Councilor Isaac Benton. “We’re talking about a very specific group who are the most vulnerable in the community and putting them in housing where they receive services and support based on their level of need, so we’re really going to be customizing this around the clients.”

Greg Morris, Executive Director of HopeWorks agreed, and added that “Having staff on-site will be what distinguishes this project from existing scattered-site housing programs and will make a significant difference for our most vulnerable clients.”

The site will be able to accommodate a total of 42 people, all in single bedroom apartments. Services provided by Hope Works will include onsite case management, individual and group therapy, peer support services, substance abuse counseling and psycho-social rehabilitation services.

According to the 2017 Point-in-Time (PIT) count, the Albuquerque metro area is home to 1,318 homeless individuals (NMCEH, 2017). The PIT count is the number of people who are experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque on one specific night in January. This number gives a baseline estimate of the minimum number of people who were sleeping outside, in a shelter, or in transitional housing the night of the PIT count. It does not include how many people were staying in motels or doubled up with family or friends or who were not counted.

This announcement was made at the fourth annual Mental Health on the Plaza event, where more than 55 Behavioral Health providers gathered to share information, resources and services to individuals living with a behavioral health condition. Family members also attended the event to garner information and ask questions about navigation the behavioral health system. ‘Behavioral Health’ is an all-encompassing phrase which includes mental illnesses and/or addictions.

Together, Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque are strategically leveraging resources and making decisions with community member and stakeholder inputs through the Behavioral Health Initiative. This endeavor creates a model for improving behavioral health outcomes that could be replicated across the country. For more information about BHI click here.

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