U.S. Bank Awards Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico $2,500 Grant for Homelessness Service-Learning Project
December 10, 2015
December 7, 2015
The U.S. Bank Foundation recently awarded Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico (SHC-NM) a $2,500 grant for its Housing First! The Key is Housing Service-Learning Project.
The service-learning project is an advocacy and educational program piloted by SHC-NM that provides education to elementary, middle, and high school students about homelessness and the most effective intervention for preventing and reducing homelessness, Housing First. Housing First is a nationally recognized “best practice” that moves people off the street into stable, affordable housing with supportive services to address mental health, substance abuse, and employment needs. The students will learn about Housing First and have an opportunity to participate in a service project to benefit people experiencing homelessness. The pilot program for the project will begin in Albuquerque public and private schools in January of 2016.
SHC-NM is currently seeking business partners and schools to participate in the program. “This is truly a collaborative project,” states Robin Dozier Otten, interim executive director of SCH-NM, “we are partnering with teachers, schools, and businesses and other nonprofits to provide a unique learning experience to students, our future decision makers, about the issue of homelessness. This grant from U.S. Bank is a great first step.”
On any given night, nearly 1,300 people experience homelessness in Albuquerque. Research indicates that Housing First is effective at both quickly placing and maintaining people in housing and at reducing the costs associated with the use of emergency services and engagement with the criminal justice system. Findings from a 2013 City of Albuquerque Heading Home Cost Study reported that in one year, the City of Albuquerque saved 31.6%, emergency room visits decreased by 36.2%, jail costs decreased 64.2%, hospital inpatient costs decreased by 83.8% and medical outpatient costs decreased by 39.1% after housing.
SHC-NM has been on the forefront of the Housing First model since 2005. Established in 1996, Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico’s mission is to prevent and reduce homelessness in New Mexico and to increase the quality of life for people with behavioral health issues in New Mexico by creating affordable, supportive housing in partnership with local communities and member agencies.