Funding cuts threatening local shelter

Posted at: 01/17/2014 5:40 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Funding cuts are threatening to turn people who once were homeless back out on the street again – and St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in Albuquerque is looking for financial help to stop that from happening.

The funding cut is about $210,000 – and for Father Rusty Smith, director of St. Martin’s, it’s especially painful because the cuts are coming from the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness! Coalition leaders blame it on reductions in federal funding. Bottom line: 19 grownups and 16 kids could wind up homeless again.

“That translates in this program to displacing 19 people who are currently dealing with mental health issues, but working,” said Father Smith. “They have jobs, they’re gaining self-sufficiency, but they would be homeless again. This is horrible.”

But wait! City hall to the rescue! Mayor Richard Berry has directed his administration to help find housing alternatives and some funding to help with some of the shortfall. Father Smith says he’s extremely grateful, but it would still leave St. Martin’s about $59,000 short and 6 people getting booted from their homes.

“I will not allow those 6 people to go unhoused,” Smith said. “We as an organization won’t, and I know this community can come up with that $59,000 – so that’s why I’m begging!”

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