As Albuquerque moves forward with a proposed gateway center for the homeless, it might be helpful for city guides to mimick an existing multi-faceted resource center that caters to a different clientele: the Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center.
The Family Advocacy Center brings together resources to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in one building. Several agencies coexist in the building in Silver SW, such as the Domestic Violence Resource Center, New Mexico Legal Aid, the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, Albuquerque Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners and Para Los Niños. The Albuquerque Police Department also has an office in the building that fills the range of services for clients.
Having multiple organizations work side by side day in and day out is not an easy task – they have their own priorities and rules, and often compete for government and / or nonprofit funding. But somehow FAC has been doing this job for 15 years.
A victim of assault can go there for investigation and evidence and also speak to a police investigator. SANE carries out medical forensic reports and supports victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Para Los Niños, part of the University of New Mexico Healthcare System, provides exams, treatments, and follow-up care for children and adolescents. Showers are available as well as clean clothes, including business clothes. Survivors can get food and toiletries from the pantry. Domestic Violence Resource Center attorneys can assist victims with restraining orders, while Legal Aid staff can assist victims with legal matters. There are offices for the various departments, examination rooms, waiting rooms, supply rooms, playrooms and rooms for advice and interviews.
“We try to anticipate any victim’s need,” Bev McMillan, who heads the FAC, told the Journal. “We can also help with temporary accommodation.”
The center accepts walk-ins Monday through Friday during normal business hours; Appointments and help outside of business hours are also possible.
Having a range of services available under one roof is similar to the city’s goal of providing all-round services to the homeless at the former Lovelace Hospital at 5400 Gibson SE.
The city’s purchase of the 572,000-square-foot building for $ 15 million was the largest homelessness investment in city history, and it must be followed by a service center capable of meaningfully managing the homelessness crisis, as an emergency shelter for the night.
The current plan, pending approval for the development, is to provide shelter for up to 100 people and 25 families by this winter. FAC is a blueprint for coordination and collaboration – a concept city guides could learn from as they put together the Gateway Center service center and operations plan. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you’re already doing well in Albuquerque.
This editorial first appeared in the . It was written by members of the editorial team and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than that of the authors.