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Federal and Albuquerque City leaders announce funding for youth homeless shelter

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
A protest sign at Albuquerque's Civic Plaza near the site of the press conference that reads "Homeless Lives Matter"

Representative Melanie Stansbury joined Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Albuquerque City Councilors Brooke Bassan, Tammy Fiebelkorn and Renee Grout to announce initial funding and commitment to building a Youth Center for individuals ages 18-25 experiencing homelessness.

This center will be the first-of-its-kind in the state, and will help support the 1200-2300 young people between the ages of 15-25 who don’t have stable housing.

That number comes from the Comprehensive Needs Assessment of Young People Experiencing Housing Instability and Homelessness in Bernalillo County, New Mexico.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said this approach to a youth focused shelter will help provide the necessary resources to individuals within this age group.

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Gino Gutierrez
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KSFR News
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller speaks on the importance of the youth shelter as a group of citizens look on

“Individuals who are suffering from a lack of shelter have all sorts of individual needs and all too often we try to paint them with a singular brush. When you layer in rather its mental health, possible addiction or rather its an unstable family situation they’re trying to get away from. Our youth, in every way, is the most vulnerable because they obviously have restrictions because they’re not 18, so what they can do on their own, the resources they can access on their own is particularly challenging.”

Keller went on to say the importance of providing assistance during this critical time in someone’s life can help lead them out of future issues for themselves and for others and have a positive impact on the community at large.

Representative Melanie Stansbury helped secure $1.5 million dollars for the project through the House of Representatives, which brought the total committed funds so far to $8.75 million.

The other $7 million was committed through the American Rescue Plan Act Funds and the City’s General Fund.

Stansbury said the shelter will help young individuals find their place in the community and the stability of a roof over their heads will give them a sense of belonging.

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Gino Gutierrez
/
KSFR News
Representative Melanie Stansbury discusses the importance of stable housing in a person's life

“Having the security of a roof over your head and a safe place to call home is fundamental to the development of a young person and your sense of place and well-being in a community. No child should ever have to wonder where they will sleep at night and we have a fundamental, moral responsibility to care for our youth and that means tackling youth homelessness head on, no matter what it looks like.”

Now that the funding for this shelter has been secured, the next steps include development of a service provider program and RFP, location identification and purchase (if not already City-owned), community engagement and education, and procurement of a design team.

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.