ALBUQUERQUE, NM- What started as an idea has now grown into a life-changing, money-saving initiative that has garnered national attention. Today, the Albuquerque Heading Home [AHH] initiative, surrounded by partners, founders and champions, celebrated its fifth anniversary. The not-for-profit initiative also announced the accomplishment of housing 524 individuals and their family members, who had been chronically homeless and are medically vulnerable.
“When I started this initiative my first year in office, we told the community that this was the ‘Smart Way to do the Right Thing’. Albuquerque has since emerged as a national leader in a critical area where every city has its challenges,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said. “I want to congratulate all of our partners and the city for embracing this difficult issue and really making a difference in people’s lives.”
Heading Home runs the administrative side of the AHH initiative. Heading Home’s CEO, Dennis Plummer, recognized the need for support from every layer of the community, saying “Our Mayor, Richard J. Berry, created and carried this initiative by giving it unstoppable momentum to grow into the data-driven, innovative program that it is today. But, this program is also special because it’s a collective-impact initiative that only works because it has every level of engagement from government leaders to social service partners.”
The AHH partners consist of: The Mayor’s Office, Albuquerque’s Family & Community Services Department, APD’s COAST unit, Heading Home, Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, Saint Martin’s Hospitality Center, Therapeutic Living Services, Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico, UNM’s Project ECHO, The Rock at NoonDay, New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, and First Nations Community Health Source. Together, the partner agencies provide support services, case management, resources, advocacy, job training, networking, and more to the AHH clients. This level of support equates to an outstanding 94% retention rate for clients after one year with AHH.
Critical to the vitality of the non-profit’s success are the AHH sponsors. The 2015 top supporters include: The McCune Charitable Foundation, United Healthcare, Sandia National Laboratories/ Lockheed Martin, The Banner Foundation, Marion & David Bundy Foundation and Nusenda Credit Union.
Today’s anniversary festivities included aerial photos of all the AHH partners, as well as the launch of a social media campaign that challenges people to #EndHomelessness. Mayor Berry as well as Miss New Mexico, Marissa Livingston, and other influential leaders committed to being a ‘cool aide to end homelessness’, by dying their hands green (the color of AHH’s logo and because the program saves green/money), writing #EndHomelessness on their palms and then tagging other friends, colleagues and family members to encourage them to do the same. The open green hands also represent the fact that AHH is turning five. If individuals who receive the challenge don’t want to dye their hands, they can make a donation to AHH by visiting ABQHeadingHome.org and clicking on the “donate” button.
Heading Home is a 501 c 3 that runs several initiatives- Albuquerque Heading Home, Vets Heading Home, Keeping Families Together and the Albuquerque Opportunity Center which includes a men’s shelter, respite and Veteran transitional housing. For more information about Albuquerque Heading Home visit www.abqheadinghome.org for more information about Heading Home visit www.HeadingHome.org