State awards $11M in grant money to transitional housing organizations

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On Wednesday, the governor’s office announced nearly $11 million in awards from the Casa Connection Grant program to organizations across the state to provide transitional housing for vulnerable populations.   

Nearly $5 million will be split among two housing options right here in Albuquerque. Some of it is being used to build new units, and the rest will go toward transforming hotels into efficiency apartments.

“It caught me by surprise, I was so excited, it was a great Christmas present,” Crossroads for Women Executive Director, Cory Lee, said Wednesday.

For her organization it was a $2 million Christmas present. The organization is one of five that received a Casa Connection Grant from the state.

Organizers at Crossroads say they’ll now be able to create 30 new beds for women who were previously in prison. 

“We purchased this building because it had so much light, because it was centrally located near emergency services, and because we felt like we could make it into a home,” Lee said.

This eventual home will have 15 bedrooms, three kitchens, phone and computer training spaces, and cozy living quarters.

“When you have experienced trauma like most of us have, identifying safe places is important if you are going to make a recovery or make progress in your life. So in order for anyone to thrive. no matter who they are or what challenges they are facing, they need a safe space, and this funding and the governor’s gift will allow us to provide that,” Lee said.

With the $2 million grant, Lee hopes to open the doors by the middle of 2023.

Another $3 million went to the City of Albuquerque to buy a hotel and renovate it into apartments to help folks transition out of homelessness.

“Hotel and motel conversions, it’s significantly faster and cheaper to renovate an existing building that has plumbing for individual units. So that’s why it’s one of our strategies to increase affordable housing,” Public Affairs Specialist for CABQ Family and Community Services Katie Simon said.

The city already had the funding to purchase and renovate two hotels, but with this new grant they can add another one to the list.

“We hope to close on the purchase of a building soon and be renovating a hotel in the next couple of months,” Simon said.

But Albuquerque isn’t the only city receiving millions of dollars from this housing grant.

The City of Deming and Luna County are getting $2.5 million for the purchase and renovation of a hotel that will serve as a homeless shelter.

Socorro will also get $2.5 million for the Vista de Socorro Permanent Supportive Housing project, a complex that will provide 32 affordable rental housing units.

And finally the Mescalero Apache Tribe Housing Department is getting $750,000 for a 40-unit development of affordable housing on tribal land.

Part of the grant says all of these projects are also required to provide wraparound services, like physical and mental health care, jobs assistance, and help to apply to other housing.