APD officer helps father and son find home

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officer Jordan Moenaert was in the right place at the right time. It was around midnight, earlier this summer, when he was about to end his shift as a downtown patrol officer.

“I was actually getting ready to go home,” he said. But an Alvarado Transit Center security guard informed him of a more pressing matter.

"Brought to my attention the fact that there was a gentleman and his four-year-old son who were pretty much just stranded at the transit center,” said Moenaert. The security guard told him the father requested that he contact police.

"He had nowhere to go, he didn’t know what to do,” said Moenaert. “He was going to basically be sleeping on the streets with his son if there wasn’t somebody who could help him."

Moenaert tried to find him a shelter or lodging for the night, but couldn’t. So he reached into his own pocket and bought them a couple nights’ stay at a downtown motel.

"When you see that father and son sitting there, just so scared and with no other option, it was just the right thing to do,” the officer said.

And that was the start of what would be months of generosity and help. Agencies like Health Care for the Homeless and the city’s Project ECHO program, as well as other charities, First Presbyterian Church, and downtown businesses like Silver Street Market helped the father and son secure a housing voucher, and food and monetary donations. CABQ Family and Community Services also registered the four-year-old boy in preschool. The pair moved into a new apartment in September.

"I think what I enjoyed most about it was just to see the relief on the father’s face and in his eyes that there was stability– long-term stability for him and his son,” said Moenaert.

They secured furniture and household donations as well—everything the father and son needed in order to enjoy their new home on day one.

"I had a really difficult time trying to imagine what he was going through,” said Moenaert, who is also a father. “I just continued to be empathetic throughout the process and it’s been a really wonderful experience to be a part of."