Local Leaders Announce Youth Center for Youth Experiencing Homelessness – City of Albuquerque

August 31, 2022

Today, federal and municipal leaders came together to announce initial funding and commitment to build a youth center for youth experiencing homelessness, serving youth ages 18-25. Councilmen Brook Bassan, Tammy Fiebelkorn and Renee Grout joined U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury and Mayor Tim Keller to announce the center, making it the first of its kind in the state of New Mexico.

In Bernalillo County, there are between 1,200 and 2,300 young people between the ages of 15 and 25 without stable housing, according to the Comprehensive needs assessment of youth experiencing housing instability and homelessness in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Adult shelters generally do not provide developmentally appropriate services for young people, and they often do not feel safe in adult shelters.

US Representative Melanie Stansbury secured $1.5 million for the Youth Center through the House of Representatives, bringing the total committed so far to $8.75 million. $7 million is committed with funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and $250,000 from the city’s general fund. The total projected cost for the Youth Center is $10 million.

“I serve in Congress because I believe that every young person in our community deserves the opportunity to thrive. That’s why I’m proud to have secured $1.5 million from the House of Representatives to establish Albuquerque’s first homeless youth center,” Rep. Stansbury said. “This facility will provide a safe space for youth facing housing insecurity and connect them to the care and resources they need to plan for their future and maximize their potential. I am grateful to our City Councilors and our Mayor for their vision to address homelessness with a multi-pronged approach to center the needs of our youth.

Grout 1 Advisor - Youth Center Presser

Councilors Bassan, Fiebelkorn and Grout initiated this process of stakeholder engagement and inspiration to establish values, priorities and a vision for the development of a non-traditional center for homeless youth using a trauma-informed design framework. The visioning process included coordination and planning meetings to identify key stakeholders, research on trauma-informed design principles, case study examples from other locations, design programming charrette virtual and in-person engagement with youth and young adults experiencing homelessness.

Mayor Keller - Youth Center Presser

“This is significant progress towards the city of Albuquerque’s newest shelter, a haven for our homeless youth who for far too long have been undervalued and neglected,” said Mayor Tim Keller. . “I am grateful to the work of our Homeless Coordinating Council Youth Committee for identifying this need, and to our partners at City Council and the Federal Delegation for working so hard with my administration to quickly get the initial funding.”

Councilor Fiebelkorn 1 - Presser Youth Center

Stakeholders engaged in the process included shelter providers, homeless advocates, and young adults with lived experience of homelessness, with representation from multiple departments in the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Albuquerque Public Schools, University of New Mexico, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, New Day Youth and Family Services, Youth Development Inc., and the New Mexico Department of Children, Youth, and Families .

Counselor Bassan 1 - Youth Center presser

“Engagement activities confirmed the need to work within a trauma-informed design framework that prioritizes the developmental needs of people aged 18-25 and initiated the development of a preliminary design program , a space adjacency diagram and a weighted scoring tool for facility location identification and prioritization,” the councilors jointly said. “City Council is committed to maintaining a high level of engagement with young adults who have lived experience of housing insecurity, as well as advice and referrals from experienced providers as the project progresses.”

Next steps include developing a service provider program and request for proposals, identifying and purchasing the location (if not already owned by the City), community engagement and education; and provision of a design team.

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