To assist communities to create solutions to homelessness from prevention through permanent housing by using action, advocacy, and awareness.
The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness was founded in the year 2000 by a group of nonprofit agencies and the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority. The founders saw the need for a statewide coalition to coordinate the efforts of the member agencies to end homelessness.
During its first few years the Coalition had only one staff person and it concentrated on coordinating the Continuum of Care application for federal funding for homeless programs for the part of the state outside of Albuquerque, assisting the member agencies with issues in developing and operating programs, and advocating for better ways to address homelessness at the NM State Legislature.
In early 2006 the Coalition merged with a similar Coalition in Albuquerque and took on the task of assisting the City of Albuquerque with its Continuum of Care Application.
From 2006 to 2013 the Coalition worked closely with several member agencies to develop apartment communities that would house people who had been homeless. This effort resulted in the development of Chuska Apartments in Gallup, Vista Gallinas Apartments in Las Vegas, the Youth Shelters Transitional Living Apartments in Santa Fe, Village Sage Apartments in Santa Fe, and Stagecoach Apartments in Santa Fe. While the Coalition still supports efforts to develop more such apartment communities, the member agencies have taken the lead in this area with less help from the Coalition.
Also in 2006 the Coalition became the lead agency in New Mexico for managing the newly created New Mexico Homeless Management Information System or HMIS, a function required by the federal government in every state. Today the HMIS provides a way for us to track our progress on helping individual homeless people obtain housing and also to track our progress in ending homelessness in all of New Mexico.
In 2013 the Coalition began planning for a statewide system of Coordinated Assessment, and began implementing the system in 2014. Agencies that participate in the the Coordinated Assessment System use a common assessment tool to assess the housing and services needs of people experiencing homelessness. Coordinated Assessment System works in conjunction with the HMIS database in order to identify who is most in need of supportive housing and where there are openings. When fully implemented, the system will ensure that supportive housing is being offered first to those who need it most.
In 2014 the Coalition partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service to provide member agencies with the opportunity to host VISTA volunteers. The VISTA volunteers work on building the capacity of the services agencies so they can help more homeless people.
Our advocacy work has been central to the Coalition’s efforts since the beginning. We advocate at the local level, state and federal level for solutions to homelessness, and have achieved several important victories over the years. At the state level, we have tripled the amount of state funding for homeless programs and helped create the New Mexico Housing Trust Fund. In Albuquerque, we have helped to fund the Albuquerque Workforce Housing Trust Fund. And at the national level, we have joined with our communities across the country to successfully advocate for increased federal funding for programs that serve people experiencing homelessness.
From the beginning the Coalition has recgnized the need for more housing with services for people experiencing homelessness, and the staff of the Coalition has worked with many of its member agencies to expand their housing and services. When the Coaltion was founded there were only a few hundred beds available in the whole state for homeless people with disabilities. With encouragement from the federal government the Coaltion and its members have increased the available beds for homeless people with disabilities to over 1600 and as a result we have begun to see a decrease in homelessness among those with disabilities.
Today the Coalition works in these major areas:
- Developing more supportive housing for people who are homeless
- Operating the Coordinated Assessment System to match homeless people with the housing and services that will best meet their needs
- Managing the Homeless Management System (HMIS) for the State of New Mexico
- Supporting homeless service agencies in New Mexico with workshops an annual conference and personalized assistance
- Placing VISTA volunteers at agencies that assist people who are homeless
- Educating people in New Mexico about homelessness
- Advocating for solution to homelessness at the local, state and federal governments