Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

Life-Saving Program, Also Saves Your Tax Dollars


Unveiling of Albuquerque Heading Home initiative cost study as well as powerful gallery and video viewing


ALBUQUERQUE– Homelessness is a tough social issue that plagues people in cities across the country, but in Albuquerque a recent study done by the University of New Mexico’s Social Research Institute revealed the city has a solution that isn’t just humane, it’s also saving money.

In winter 2011, being homeless in Albuquerque was not only difficult it was deadly. The city was entrenched in the freezing temperatures of a 100 year storm. In blizzard-like conditions, Mayor Richard J. Berry launched the Albuquerque Heading Home initiative with street outreach, done by hundreds of volunteers, to the City’s most medically vulnerable and most likely to pass away on the streets. After incubating the initiative he handed it over to nonprofit, Heading Home to implement the program and continue the work.

Today, five years later, the Albuquerque Heading Home initiative has housed 610 individuals and their family members, saved millions of taxpayer dollars and is helping to end homelessness.

During an event that showcased the human stories behind the program through film and photography, the Mayor, City Officials, volunteers, partner agencies, representatives from UNM and advocates joined together to hear the results of a cost study analyzing the Albuquerque Heading Home initiative. Highlights from the study showed that:

  • Investing in Albuquerque Heading Home creates a 78% return
  • The initiative has saved nearly $5 Million in taxpayer dollars

“Albuquerque Heading Home is truly an inspirational program. For all who have witnessed the amazing stories of our participants, it’s awesome to see,” said Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. “This latest financial impact study further illustrates that we addressing chronic homelessness in a smart way for both those experiencing homelessness and for the taxpayer.”

Heading Home Housing Director Jodie Jepson emphasized that critical partnerships and generous volunteers who have created this level of social change, “We’re so honored to have our valuable partners with us today, to celebrate the impact that we’re having on our community- we’re literally changing lives and bringing hope to people who thought they were lost, forgotten and invisible.”

View the full 2016 Albuquerque Heading Home Cost Study

View the 2016 Report in Brief

The short film is available to be shared via the Albuquerque Heading Home’s website, YouTube, facebook page and twitter site.    #HomesSave

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.  Collectively these programs have transitioned more than 1,800 individuals and their family members into housing.




Albuquerque Heading Home Initiative Celebrates Five Years & More Than 500 People Housed

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 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 for more information about Heading Home visit


Albuquerque Journal: Home Team helps ‘neighbors’ get ahead

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — She admits she hasn’t always made the best choices, though why is something she has never figured out.

“I don’t know why this happened to me,” Paula Bogacz-Hetzel says of a life that would kill the spirit of lesser women. “I did something wrong.”

Not that it matters so much anymore. At 66, Bogacz-Hetzel is more at peace with her choices and what remains of her life than she has been in years. After struggling with homelessness, hurt, mistakes and ill health, she is finally feeling at home with herself.

Because she is home.  Read more at the Albuquerque Journal.

Albuquerque Heading Home Garners Support from Philanthropic Student Group

After Heading Home CEO Dennis Plummer presented at a Community Builder‘s workshop, one of the students gave a very complimentary speech about the all the presenters and their respective non-profit organizations.

Thank you Marcos for letting us share this wonderfully written piece with our supporters, keep up the good work with the Community Builders! AND thanks to Sue Rzendzian for inviting our CEO to present.

Click here to read Marcos’ speech


Home Sweet Home for the Holidays

William Roper Jr., 6, tests out a mattress Thursday at his family’s new three-bedroom apartment. William, his parents and three siblings are the first family to get permanent housing through the new Veterans Heading Home program. At right is William’s brother, Jerome, 1.[/caption]

This article appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on December 22, 2014. It is an update of a veteran family housed through Vets Heading Home, a program that uses the Albuquerque Heading Home model to successful house veterans and their families.  Click to read the update.

An earlier article about the family can be read by clicking here.


Vets Heading Home Expands Focus

Albuquerque Heading Home focuses its attention on people who are medically vulnerable and experiencing chronic homelessness.  Due to its success, the model is now being applied to veterans, too, regardless of length of time homeless or medical conditions.  Thanks to partnerships with City of Albuquerque, Veterans Administration, Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico, Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and Saint Martin’s Hospitality Center, Heading Home is proud to serve those who have served our country.

Read about one family helped through Vets Heading Home


The Roeper family gets ready to move into permanent housing after more than 3 years of living in emergency shelters.

The Roper family gets ready to move into permanent housing after more than 3 years of living in emergency shelters.


312 People Housed!

With family members, that number is actually 359.  Wow.  Congratulations to everyone who has made this happen!

Lisa Huval, NM Coalition to End Homelessness; Paula Harper, Supportive Housing Coalition of NM; Dennis Plummer, Heading Home; and Mayor Berry were all on hand today with community partners to observe this important milestone.

Also highlighted was the $3.2 million dollar savings to the community.

Read the full press release here:  Day of Press Packet