Organizing in McKinley County

Organizing in McKinley County

Santa Fe Recovery Center hosted a meeting at St. Paul’s Church in Gallup, NM located at 1121 W. Lincoln Ave.  With the meeting in full swing many topics of border town living are being discussed within the circle.  Local partners were present from area organizations from the Lexington Hotel, McKinley Early Childhood Coalition, & Four Corners Detox Recovery Center to name a few.  Creating safe spaces for families and individuals is the priority.

Willard Eastman talked about the immediate financial needs of the housing first led organization. Overall it will take $600K to keep Lexington open & operating.  Lexington Hotel is located on Route 66 downtown Gallup.  Recently it has encountered hardship as a result of water damage from freezing temperatures.  Navajo Nation and Zuni Tribe is being asked for monetary support,  response has been slow.  There is a waiting list for those seeking support. 

Tribal governments are being asked for support because their enrolled members are being housed through housing first principles.  No barriers or prerequisites need to be met,  once housing is established case management is in place to support the clients needs whether it me medical, social services, education, mental health related impacts are met when the client is housed safely. 

A GoFundMe was established for rent funding and had raised $18K.  The current use of funds is being allocated to help individuals and families currently living there with transition moves which assists with rent deposit.  Donations are being accepted immediately for a needs list including space heaters, socks, blankets, pillows (new) along with winter items to keep warm.  A needed volunteer for the organization would be an individual who is patient and willing to help fill out applications (ie…Housing, medicaid, SSI) so individuals can gain support services. 

Out of sight, and out of the minds of most, are the 73% of people experiencing homelessness who will find a suitable place to live within a year (NAEH, 2021). The people who got hurt without insurance and lost their job, the people who are escaping an abusive living situation, or the people simply trying to care for themselves and their young children. If you can help do so with dignity and respect.  Anyone wanting to give during this holiday giving time can call 505-722-8951.  

Next, Collen Roan from McKinley County Early Childhood Coalition (MCECC) stepped forward to let the group know of her work with early intervention for children and families.  She asked How can the coalition help with impacts in the community? She identified trust building as a need within the community to build relational organizing networks to support early intervention programs & mothers.  Being a part of McKinley County Schools, Roan stated McKinney Vento is utilized in the district.  This supports the issue with children being homeless.

Often she hears the phrase, “Gallup won’t change, the people won’t change…”. As a border town she sees Gallup interactions with its demographic of people and she is aware of progressive changes being present today.  She challenges the notion with outreach and resources for the community. Often families hear the phrase, “What’s going on in your home?”  She offers, “How can we help support you?”  If you need assistance with assessments and intervention for your child please get in contact with MCECC for those living in McKinley County.

Lastly, Four Corners Detox Recovery Center staff and Street Outreach Case Worker Britni Billy were present to update on their organization.  The staff shared they did outreach in Zuni Pueblo last Saturday.  With their new mobile van they were able to provide comfort kits containing a variety of care items. They are excited about their new mode of transportation to meet unsheltered relatives where they are at.  It was always an obstacle and barrier which will help them support individuals by getting to their appointments with service providers.  The outreach they are doing currently is to promote STI testing along with awareness and education on the impacts of STI (sexually transmitted infections). Community outreach is supported by asking what the community needs are.

Starting this Saturday the staff will be at the Gallup Flea Market starting a survey.  The survey conducted will help to generate data for upcoming funding cycles and will help to establish stats and logistics within the community for social impacts.  Honest feedback is being sought when responding to the survey.  It should take about 15 minutes to respond to and an incentive will be given for your time.  

It is agreed more treatment and recovery services are needed in McKinley County.  Safe spaces for families who are battling substance or alcohol addiction to have safe visitation with children and their care providers.  Schools can support children and families for a brighter tomorrow.  

The next tentative scheduled meeting will be held virtually on January 3, 2024.    

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