Planned youth homeless shelter secures extra federal funding

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque city leaders are one step closer to constructing a new shelter for youth experiencing homelessness. 

“We need to meet people where they are,” said Katie Simon a public affairs specialist for the city’s Family and Community Services Department. “Young adults, yeah, they do have different needs, then, then the older adults.” 

Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-NM 1) secured $1.5 million for the project as part of the federal government’s most recent spending package.

Stansbury says the bill could reach President Biden’s desk by Friday. The city has already committed $7 million from the American Rescue Plan and $250,000 from the city’s general fund for the new shelter. 

“This is a project that is really starting from ground zero,” Stansbury said. 

City leaders announced plans for the estimated $10 million project in August. The new facility will provide services for 18 to 25-year-olds who are experiencing housing insecurity.

Simon says the city is still deciding on a location and what services will be provided. There is no timeline for construction. 

A recent study from PIRE found there are roughly 1,200-2,300 15 to 25-year-olds experiencing homelessness in Bernalillo County. Data shows that includes many types of situations – everything from living on the street to couch-surfing.

“This is a population that often falls out, they fall through the cracks, they age out of CYFD care for example, and so they often just slip through the cracks or don’t integrate very well into our existing adult shelters,” Simon said. 

The study also found 46% of youth experiencing homelessness don’t know where to find help in Albuquerque. 

“We are really looking forward to being able to fill this service gap, and target this population early, and get them help and get them, you know, on a better path,” Simon said.