Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Heading Home Documentary Nominated for Rocky Mountain Emmy

Last week, we got news that our Heading Home Documentary was nominated for a 2013 Rocky Mountain Emmy! The film is nominated for Politics/Government-Program Feature/Segment or Program/Special. We’d like to give a special shout out to our friends at GOV-TV and the City of Albuquerque for helping us tell our story and the stories of the people we serve. Congratulations to Dave Mathews (Director), Diego Lucero (Producer/Editor), Randy Moss (Producer/Videographer), Michael Patrick (Producer/Editor) and Robin Otten (Executive Producer) on your nomination!

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced its 2013 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards Gala and Auction. Each year, NATAS Chapters across the country recognize and reward excellence in their broadcasting communities. Since 1976 the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter has done this through the annual Rocky Mountain Emmy (R) Awards. The event will take place on Saturday, October 19 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.


City of Albuquerque Documents Efforts to House The Homeless

From KOB.com

Some of the City of Albuquerque’s most vulnerable, sickest and desperate people are in a better place now.

A year and a half’s worth of work has helped put more than 130 of Albuquerque’s chronically homeless in homes.

The City documented its efforts in locating the homeless and getting them into apartments.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 reporter Chris Ramirez attended the premiere screening of the film Monday night and reports his personal involvement with the project.


ABQ Heading Home Houses 76 People

Breaking News!From KOB.com:

 

A year ago, the City of Albuquerque promised to put a roof over the heads of the city’s most vulnerable homeless people.

Today, city officials said the Heading Home initiative has placed 76 people, one more than the program’s goal, into homes.

“This program is not only housing our most vulnerable, it’s united families together,” Dennis Plummer, Albuquerque Heading Home director said.

During the press conference, the city showcased a story KOB Eyewitness News 4 reported about one client.

Simon Aragon said a heroin addiction left him on the streets and in jail for decades.

Immediately after the story aired, Aragon’s daughter called and said she thought her father was dead.

The two later reunited for the first time in 14 years.

During Thursday’s celebration, Mayor Richard Berry set a goal to house 90 more people by February 2013.


Albuquerque’s Homelessness Initiative

Breaking News!Robin Dozier Otten, City of Albuquerque Family & Community Service Department director, and Dennis Plummer, Metropolitan Homeless Project, join Nicole Brady to discuss the city’s homeless initiative.

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UNM Daily Lobo

City: Housing Homeless Saves Public Money
By Chelsea Erven | New Mexico Daily Lobo
City: Housing Homeless Saves Public Money
Published April 25, 2011 in News

Data compiled by the city finds housing some of Albuquerque’s homeless is cheaper than leaving them on the streets.

Mayor Richard Berry’s Heading Home initiative aims to house 75 of the city’s “most vulnerable” homeless, but the initiative’s primary concern is to save money, said Chris Ramirez, a spokesman for Berry.

Ramirez said vulnerability was determined with both need and cost in mind.

“This model surveys the entire homeless community, and through a vulnerability index, determines who are the most needy and costly to the public sector,” he said.

Berry launched the initiative in early January. It surveyed hundreds of homeless and selected the 75 “most vulnerable” to be placed in city-funded housing.

Ramirez said the initiative aims to defray the economic impact of homelessness by reducing public dollars spent on hospitalizations, ER visits, jail time and calls for public safety service.

“We believe these types of public expenditures go down when people have a safe home to live in,” he said.

The most expensive person surveyed, who was also considered one of the 75 “most vulnerable,” cost the city more than $100,000 last year. The individual reported 30 inpatient hospitalizations and 120 emergency room visits.

Albuquerque Fire Department firefighter Jose Gomez said the economic impact of homelessness is “huge.”

“The economic impact is significant, just in fuel wasted going to pick them up,” he said.

Last year, the Albuquerque Fire Department responded to more than 3,000 “down-and-out” calls from homeless people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, and Gomez said those calls account for nearly 80 percent of his station’s calls.

Another fireman, Derrick Ross, said responding to a high volume of “down-and-out” calls limits the number of other calls AFD can respond to.

“You take units out of service that could be responding to other calls,” he said. “You take out an ambulance, which frequently is what we call level zero, meaning they have no other units available to respond because they’re taking a drunk guy to the hospital.”

Ambulance rides aren’t free. Ross said a ride costs the city about $500. He also said once they’re dropped off at the hospital, homeless people take up space in the emergency room.
Mike Chicarelli, spokesman for UNM Hospital, said homeless people account for about 10 percent of the hospital’s 95,000 emergency room visits each year.

“We see at least one a day,” he said.

Chicarelli said the emergency room visit can cost between $100-$5,000 depending on the case. He said nurses and doctors often don’t know a person is homeless until after the visit is complete.

“In many cases, we have to eat the bill,” he said.


#1 Most Vulnerable is Housed

Sunday, April 17, 2011
“Starting a New Life in a Home of His Own”
By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer

Anthony Cordray’s routine for the past decade has revolved around a mile-square block of Downtown Albuquerque.

Breakfast at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission around 6 a.m., then a walk north to St. Martin’s Hospitality Center for a shower. Albuquerque HealthCare for the Homeless is a few blocks away for a cup of coffee and a medical or dental appointment or some socializing in the courtyard.

For lunch, it’s back Downtown to Noon Day Ministries, then a job moving furniture if one avails itself or to a park with whatever novel he’s reading if one doesn’t. At 5 p.m., he heads back to the Rescue Mission for dinner. After dinner, Cordray peels off from the others and goes to the sleeping spot where he has stashed his belongings and settles in for a restless night.

Cordray has been homeless in Albuquerque, except for a stint in prison, since 2002. He has lived on the streets nearly continuously since he turned 18.

“It’s a very addicting lifestyle,” Cordray told me the other day as we sat together Downtown. “You’re not going to go hungry here. There’s food everywhere. Showers, clothes, medical. You basically don’t need for anything except a place to stay.”

It’s also dangerous, tiring and really boring.

You spend the day on the move to keep from being hassled or arrested. You worry about your stuff being stolen. You spend hours waiting for the next thing to happen. And you sleep with one eye open, hoping somebody doesn’t roll you for your sleeping bag or your bus pass.

Cordray is not a young man anymore, and he is ready for a different life, one that’s more settled, safer, with a purpose.

“I’m way ready,” he told me. “I’m tired.”

In February, when the Albuquerque Heading Home organization fanned out across Albuquerque in the coldest cold snap the city had ever seen, volunteers walked the streets trying to identify and interview all the city’s homeless. After the homeless census was complete, all the data from those interviews was plugged into a computer program to identify the 75 most vulnerable homeless people. Characteristics associated with vulnerability, according to the survey, are age, time spent on the street, injuries, diseases, mental health issues, and visits to jails, prisons and hospitals.

When Cordray took that survey on a cold afternoon on Gold Street Downtown, his answers made bells ring.

He is 49 and has been homeless for most of 30 years. He has shattered his hand slugging a guy who was bothering him while he slept, he has hepatitis C and problems with alcohol, he’s bipolar, and he has post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood abuse in a series of foster homes. Cordray did stints in prison in Los Lunas and Grants for battery on a police officer in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend’s family and, due to persistent viral papilloma growths in his throat, he has had surgery dozens of times.

With all of that, Cordray had the distinction of scoring highest on the vulnerability ranking, making him Albuquerque’s No. 1 most vulnerable homeless person.

Albuquerque Heading Home’s survey was more than just an exercise in information gathering. Its purpose was to match the 75 most vulnerable with apartments or rental homes, moving them to safer, more stable ground for a one-year period.

Much of the motivation is humanitarian; it’s not the mark of a great city to have people sleeping under bridges.

But Dennis Plummer of the Metropolitan Homelessness Project said there’s also a bean-counter component. If more of the homeless find safe and comfortable accommodations — homes — their health might stabilize, they might use fewer social services, or at least less expensive ones, and they might be able to work or go to school.

For Cordray, an apartment is a chance at a different life. Cordray went apartment shopping with his case manager at HealthCare for the Homeless and picked out a one-bedroom unit in a complex in the Northeast Heights. It’s on the second floor with a balcony, and there’s a pool, a gym and a computer room.

Cordray will pay $64 a month from his general assistance income toward rent, and a voucher from the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico will pick up the rest. The staff at New Mexico Legal Aid’s Albuquerque office has taken care of furnishings.

Cordray has all sorts of plans. He wants to learn how to use a computer, to take classes at Central New Mexico Community College and eventually to get a dog.

Those are the big things. But the small things are what make Cordray break into a smile.

To be able to decide what he wants for dinner and make it. “I love to cook,” Cordray says.

To decorate and hang his clothes in a closet and sleep soundly.

“Being in my own place, in the quiet,” Cordray tells me, “I can’t wait. I’m going to hibernate.”

Cordray signed his lease and picked up his keys Friday. We’ll check in with him from time to time to see how he’s doing in his new life at home.

UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Leslie at 823-3914 or llinthicum@abqjournal.com.


Starting a New Life in a Home of His Own

From 4/17/11, Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal:

By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer

Anthony Cordray’s routine for the past decade has revolved around a mile-square block of Downtown Albuquerque.

Breakfast at the Albuquerque Rescue Mission around 6 a.m., then a walk north to St. Martin’s Hospitality Center for a shower. Albuquerque HealthCare for the Homeless is a few blocks away for a cup of coffee and a medical or dental appointment or some socializing in the courtyard.

For lunch, it’s back Downtown to Noon Day Ministries, then a job moving furniture if one avails itself or to a park with whatever novel he’s reading if one doesn’t. At 5 p.m., he heads back to the Rescue Mission for dinner. After dinner, Cordray peels off from the others and goes to the sleeping spot where he has stashed his belongings and settles in for a restless night.

Cordray has been homeless in Albuquerque, except for a stint in prison, since 2002. He has lived on the streets nearly continuously since he turned 18.

“It’s a very addicting lifestyle,” Cordray told me the other day as we sat together Downtown. “You’re not going to go hungry here. There’s food everywhere. Showers, clothes, medical. You basically don’t need for anything except a place to stay.”

It’s also dangerous, tiring and really boring.

You spend the day on the move to keep from being hassled or arrested. You worry about your stuff being stolen. You spend hours waiting for the next thing to happen. And you sleep with one eye open, hoping somebody doesn’t roll you for your sleeping bag or your bus pass.

Cordray is not a young man anymore, and he is ready for a different life, one that’s more settled, safer, with a purpose.

“I’m way ready,” he told me. “I’m tired.”

In February, when the Albuquerque Heading Home organization fanned out across Albuquerque in the coldest cold snap the city had ever seen, volunteers walked the streets trying to identify and interview all the city’s homeless. After the homeless census was complete, all the data from those interviews was plugged into a computer program to identify the 75 most vulnerable homeless people. Characteristics associated with vulnerability, according to the survey, are age, time spent on the street, injuries, diseases, mental health issues, and visits to jails, prisons and hospitals.

When Cordray took that survey on a cold afternoon on Gold Street Downtown, his answers made bells ring.

He is 49 and has been homeless for most of 30 years. He has shattered his hand slugging a guy who was bothering him while he slept, he has hepatitis C and problems with alcohol, he’s bipolar, and he has post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood abuse in a series of foster homes. Cordray did stints in prison in Los Lunas and Grants for battery on a police officer in a domestic dispute with a girlfriend’s family and, due to persistent viral papilloma growths in his throat, he has had surgery dozens of times.

With all of that, Cordray had the distinction of scoring highest on the vulnerability ranking, making him Albuquerque’s No. 1 most vulnerable homeless person.

Albuquerque Heading Home’s survey was more than just an exercise in information gathering. Its purpose was to match the 75 most vulnerable with apartments or rental homes, moving them to safer, more stable ground for a one-year period.

Much of the motivation is humanitarian; it’s not the mark of a great city to have people sleeping under bridges.

But Dennis Plummer of the Metropolitan Homelessness Project said there’s also a bean-counter component. If more of the homeless find safe and comfortable accommodations — homes — their health might stabilize, they might use fewer social services, or at least less expensive ones, and they might be able to work or go to school.

For Cordray, an apartment is a chance at a different life. Cordray went apartment shopping with his case manager at HealthCare for the Homeless and picked out a one-bedroom unit in a complex in the Northeast Heights. It’s on the second floor with a balcony, and there’s a pool, a gym and a computer room.

Cordray will pay $64 a month from his general assistance income toward rent, and a voucher from the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico will pick up the rest. The staff at New Mexico Legal Aid’s Albuquerque office has taken care of furnishings.

Cordray has all sorts of plans. He wants to learn how to use a computer, to take classes at Central New Mexico Community College and eventually to get a dog.

Those are the big things. But the small things are what make Cordray break into a smile.

To be able to decide what he wants for dinner and make it. “I love to cook,” Cordray says.

To decorate and hang his clothes in a closet and sleep soundly.

“Being in my own place, in the quiet,” Cordray tells me, “I can’t wait. I’m going to hibernate.”

Cordray signed his lease and picked up his keys Friday. We’ll check in with him from time to time to see how he’s doing in his new life at home.

UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Leslie at 823-3914 orllinthicum@abqjournal.com. Go towww.abqjournal.com/letters/newto submit a letter to the editor.

Read more.


Helping Homeless Helps Bottom Line

By Leslie Linthicum
Albuquerque Journal
Sunday, February 20, 2011

Albuquerque’s homeless are sicker and more vulnerable than people who live on the streets in other cities. They have much higher rates of brain injuries, hepatitis C, mental health and substance abuse issues, and they are more likely to be victims of violent attacks.

The results of a survey of Albuquerque’s homeless released last week are disturbing, and they cry out for action. Why? Because men and women with heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer and asthma, people who are military veterans and senior citizens, shouldn’t have to sleep under bridges.

That’s the human side of the problem. There’s also a practical one: The cold, hard facts are that these are expensive people, and we’re all footing the bill.

The good news is that getting people off the streets and into permanent housing is not only the compassionate thing to do, but it might also be good for government’s bottom line.

Albuquerque Heading Home, a public/private partnership that originated in Albuquerque’s City Hall, has identified the 75 most vulnerable among those on the street to participate in a pilot project that will move them into apartments for at least a year.

Here’s who they are: Forty-nine men and 26 women. Average age, 53. Average time homeless, 20 years. Among the 75, they had 235 inpatient hospitalizations and made 564 emergency room visits last year. Total estimated annual cost for that care? Almost $1 million.

That million dollar drain on tax dollars doesn’t include the costs of emergency transport or tied-up police units or shelter services or incarceration, which send the price tag even higher.

Under the model that has been used in a number of other cities and will be tested here, the most vulnerable (and most expensive) are moved into a stable living situation and surrounded with support — substance abuse and employment counseling and cohesive, outpatient medical care.

Seventy-five people live a safer, healthier, fuller life, stay out of hospitals, ERs and jail, and their costs to government drop. In this age of budget deficits and calls for government to cut back its social service role, it’s rare to find an approach that’s as good for the bottom line as it is for the soul.

The lucky 75 will start being notified this week and should be inside with heat, beds, kitchens and bathrooms shortly.

In Albuquerque, according to Mayor Richard Berry, the project will cost around $500,000. How much will it save? Stay tuned. We’ll find out in a year.

There are lots of risks in this program and lots of unknowns. Dennis Plummer at Albuquerque Opportunity Center, an Albuquerque shelter, told me that making the transition to apartment living will be as challenging for some chronically homeless as being put out on the street would be for you or me.

The 75 will get lots of support, but they will also be under the microscope for the next year, with their health and social service costs especially scrutinized.

Robin Dozier Otten, the city’s director of family and community services, told me the program has minimal risks for government and social service agencies. The track record in other cities points to big savings, she said, and if at the end of the year the numbers don’t show a good bottom line, the city will end it.

In the week of bitter cold earlier this month, as survey teams were scouring the streets looking for the homeless, I talked to Ed Boucher, 26, who had been homeless for 2 1/2 years.

Boucher sat at a table inside the West Side shelter and answered “yes” to a number of questions on the vulnerability survey.

Where do you usually sleep? “Either outside or here. Mostly outside.”

How many times have you been to the emergency room in the past three months: “Once.”

How many times have you been hospitalized in the past year? “Five times.”

Heat exhaustion? Yes. Irregular heartbeat? Yes. Asthma? Yes. Treated for drug or alcohol abuse? Yes. Mental health issues? Yes.

Have you ever been taken to the hospital against your will for mental health issues? Yes.

Have you been the victim of violent attack since becoming homeless? Yes. In jail? Yes.

Boucher is an engaging guy with a nice Boston accent who spends his days looking for odd jobs, filling out employment applications, and finding shelter, food and help with his ADHD and bipolar disorder.

“I know I would not be in this situation if I could just get my feet on the ground and keep on level ground and not worry about where I’m going to sleep or worry about where my next meal is going to come from,” Boucher told me.

The mayor has explained Albuquerque Heading Home as a chance to stop managing homelessness and try to eliminate it. I like the idea of Albuquerque as a city where everyone has a chance to live on level ground.