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Española Pathways Shelter Seeks Leaders, Donations

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Pathways Shelter update Hank Hughes Ralph Martinez

New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Hank Hughes (left) and Ralph Martinez said the Pathways Shelter is now able to accept financial donations through the Coalition. The money will be kept in a separate account, and will be available once the Shelter begins operations.

The Española Pathways Shelter is now able to receive donations, thanks to some assistance from the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. The Coalition will act as the fiscal agent for the soon-to-be Española shelter while it awaits designation as a registered nonprofit.

A community forum held June 10 was filled with people who are in support of the Shelter, unlike previous community forums that met with resistance.

“This is the third community forum that we’ve hosted and it looks like we’re kind of going down in numbers, I take that as a good sign,” Ralph Martinez said. “I take that as a sign that everybody’s comfortable with what they’re hearing on the streets, or what they’re reading on social media with what they’re reading in the different articles that have been printed.”

The last community forum, held April 8, various community members expressed concern about crime, but other communities have seen drops in crime rates by building subsidized units for homeless people. Utah adopted a “housing first” policy that built 2,626 subsidized housing units for homeless people, those areas saw a drop in crime, a previous Rio Grande SUN article states.

“It breaks your heart when you get phone calls in the dead of winter and there’s no place where you can refer somebody to sleep, you know, be warm and safe,” Yvonne Atencio with Habitat for Humanity said. “Things have changed a lot I think in the community and it’s very obvious to everyone that we’ve got to do something. It is not cool to know that people are sleeping underneath trees and in cars, and hungry. It’s just not acceptable, and I think people know that.”

“As of about three weeks ago, we’re able to receive monetary donations,” Martinez said. “Payable to the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness with a side note of Pathways Shelter so it can go into a special account for Pathways Shelter.”

The announcement was first made via Facebook on May 21. According to the announcement, donations can be sent to NMCEH, P.O. Box 865, Santa Fe, NM 87504. “Pathways Shelter” must appear on the memo line of the check to ensure it goes to the Española project.

“I know that pathways is the key word in this whole title for this shelter, and we hold that dear to our hearts,” Martinez said. “I spent a lot of time with the individuals that are out there are the streets. We talk about the upcoming shelter and what it would mean for them. I get a lot of positive responses from individuals and it’s exciting to see that glimpse of hope in their eyes.”

He said the hope for something better is what people desperately need, and the shelter is planned to be a source of hope, and a pathway to various possibilities.

“Without that hope, then we don’t have a fighting chance,” he said. “What we’re looking to do is open those doors to show that the hope does exist, because it does, and the possibility does exist because it is possible.”

The Coalition will not only be acting as a fiscal agent, as an experienced group serving people without homes, it will also be acting in an advisory status for the Pathways Shelter project. The Coalition is also requiring the Shelter to form a board of directors and an advisory board.

The Shelter is currently accepting public nominations for non-voting advisory committee members and board of directors members. There are 12 open slots.

Twelve members will be chosen for the non-voting advisory committee, and a total of five or six board members will be chosen from the nominees.

Nominations can be sent to espanolapshelter@gmail.com and should include a brief biography of the nominee, as well as a letter explaining how and why the nominee can contribute to the project.

The Shelter is looking for people who are passionate about ending homelessness in Española and the surrounding areas, Martinez said.

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