Housing First Memorial - A Solution to Homelessness
The Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico (DPANM) worked with the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness to pass a Housing First Memorial during the 2008 Legislative Session. The Housing First Taskforce’s Final Report is available here.
DPANM participated as a member on the Housing First Taskforce comprised of key state agencies, housing development organizations, advocacy organizations and service providers. The main priorities of the Taskforce included:
- Coordinate and target already existing resources and strategies for implementing a Housing First approach
- Develop a Housing First Plan that provides a strategic guide on how we can effectively use our existing resources to address homelessness
- Tackle current fragmentation among different housing systems and services
- Focus on long-term solutions rather than emergency responses
- Create strategies, goals, and recommendations to house people with disabilities, people with addictions, people being discharged from prison/jail, youth, and low-income working families.
In New Mexico, about 17,000 people experience homelessness over the course of a year. With a Housing First approach, the primary focus is on helping homeless individuals and families quickly access and sustain permanent housing. In addition to housing, supportive services are offered according to the individual or family's needs and can include mental health counseling, financial management skills training, job training, childcare, job search assistance, parenting skills classes or substance abuse treatment.