AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer needed!

Jen Bear, AmeriCorps VISTA at our annual donor event

VISTA Volunteer – Community Outreach, Volunteer Relations, and Fundraising

You can earn money for education while making a difference in your community! Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico is currently recruiting for a VISTA member to join them in their effort to end homelessness in New Mexico. The SHC-NM VISTA volunteer will work to increase community awareness and involvement in Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico by assisting with annual fundraising events, direct mail campaigns, social media campaigns, outreach events, and advancing the Volunteer Program at SHC-NM

Duties include:

  • Assist Resource Development department with development and coordination of fundraising campaigns to include staff and volunteer recruitment, event logistics, marketing, solicitation of donations, sponsor recruitment, newsletters, and donor acknowledgement
  • Represent SHC-NM at community outreach activities and update presentation materials, activities, and evaluation tools for Community Outreach Program
  • Work with partner schools, teachers, businesses, and volunteers for SHC-NM Service Learning Project
  • Develop social media outreach, print materials, and community presentations for volunteer recruitment
  • Assist Resource Development in event planning, database management, volunteer recruitment


  • Passionate about mission to end homelessness
  • Ability to work in a collaborative team environment
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, computer, and public speaking skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, especially Word and Excel
  • Experience with databases, social media, and graphic design preferred
  • Exceptional organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Experience working with volunteers and school age children preferred
  • 18 years or older; valid driver’s license; required background check
  • Complete AmeriCorps* VISTA Volunteer Pre-Service Orientation

To Apply:
Please email a cover letter, resume, and the names and phone numbers of three references —at least two must be professional or academic—to by Friday, September 1st.

Other information:
VISTA will serve full-time and make a year-long commitment beginning November 2017. During their year of service, VISTA members immerse themselves in the community that they serve to empower agencies and communities working to eradicate poverty. VISTA members are excellent team players and are interested in growing personally and professionally during their year of service.

VISTA positions are open to all US citizens, nationals, and lawful permanent resident immigrants age 18 or older. Members receive a modest living allowance of $472 biweekly and support with childcare if needed. Other benefits include student loan forbearance or deference and a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend.

More information can be found on the VISTA Campus:

Job Opening: Housing Inspector/Administrator

Housing Inspector / Administrator
Full-time (40 Hours weekly)

The Housing Inspector/ Administrator will manage the monthly inspection process for 500 housing vouchers.


  • Schedule monthly inspection and perform  initial, annual and special  inspections in compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing Quality Standards (HQS) requirements.
  • Perform re-inspections of previously failed units and follow up on complaints to ensure compliance with building codes and HQS
  • Prepare documentation for all inspections and files
  • Prepare correspondence to landlords and tenants and manage inspection filing
  • Establish, maintain and promote effective working relationships with SHC-NM staff, vendors, consultants, contractors, landlords and tenants
  • Display ability to effectively communicate with people from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds
  • Other administrative duties as assigned


  • Associates degree in human services or similar field
  • Experience in affordable housing with persons who have special needs including behavioral health and history of homelessness


  • Excellent interpersonal skills, written and oral communication, and attention to detail
  • Ability to attend out-of-state HQS training and pass exam within 90 days of hire
  • Possess and maintain a valid NM driver’s license, have dependable transportation, and maintain adequate automobile liability insurance on vehicle used to perform job
  • Ability to walk 3-5 miles per day, bend, stoop and climb stairs
  • Proficient in MS Excel, Outlook, Word
  • Criminal background check required

Please send completed SHC Employment Application and resume to John Ames, Director of Community Housing,

SHC-NM is an EEO employer.

Job Opening: Full Time Maintenance Technician

Maintenance Technician – Full Time (40 Hours weekly) Sunport Plaza & West Central Apartments


The Maintenance Technician provides on-site assistance to maintain the property and responds to all maintenance and on-call requests in a timely manner.


  • Provides on-site presence to deter damage, vandalism, or theft. Prepares regular reports for Management regarding Maintenance duties.
  • Maintains all grounds, sidewalks, parking lots, and common areas. Performs preventative maintenance including the regular changing of filters and maintains a schedule for all fire safety and building equipment certifications.
  • Responds to situations including being a point of contact for all emergency personnel, case managers, and outside service providers (e.g. exterminator). Obtains several bids from outside service providers for any major work to be approved by the Property Manager.
  • Provides general maintenance and repair services for property including requesting necessary supplies and reporting all maintenance issues to the Property Manager. Maintains proper documentation of work orders completed for the property.
  • Turns units when residents vacate, which includes: cleaning of apartment, painting, and repairs.
  • Conducts periodic inspections of apartments with Property Manager. Maintains property in accordance with all housing standards set by MFA, HUD, and other applicable funding entities.


  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Minimum of two (2) years residential maintenance experience


  • Completion of a trade school with an emphasis in plumbing or electrical preferred. Knowledge of swamp coolers and gas heating turn-on preferred. HVAC certification preferred also.
  • Ability to empathize with residents and the barriers they face in becoming productive members of the community.
  • CPR, First Aid, and Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) training preferred.
  • Ability to maintain positive working relationships and computer literacy preferred.

Please send completed SHC Employment Application and resume to Joscylyn Huffmaster, Director of Property & Asset Management,

Housing Changes Lives!

Housing Means Education

Next month, Donald will graduate from college, on the dean’s list, with a 3.8 GPA. And he did much of that while living out of his car.

Donald grew up in poverty in Memphis, Tennessee. Desperate to make ends meet, he dropped out of school. He knew that decision deeply disappointed his mother but he didn’t feel like he had any other choice. When his mom passed away, Donald decided to move to New Mexico and try to build his independence. He found an apartment but quickly found himself unable to pay rent.

He knew he had hit rock bottom when he became incarcerated in 2012. Donald found himself at a crossroad. “Did I want to stay in this position or resort to being on the streets?” While his mother had always said she was proud of him, he knew she would have wanted him to get his high school diploma. So he took the opportunity to earn his GED through the program offered in jail. And with the help of his teachers, he enrolled at CNM.

Released from jail and staying at a halfway house, Donald continued his studies. Unfortunately the halfway house was only for 90 days and upon release, he became homeless once again. But he stayed in school. Often he would park his car at the school and sleep there, and then get up and go to classes. Overwhelmed by his situation, Donald often thought about giving up. “You can’t focus on education when you don’t know where you’re going to sleep”.

His advisors at CNM noticed him struggling and provided resources to help him find shelter. Once at the shelter, he started to see a counselor once a week to help him manage his mental health and housing issues. Suffering from PTSD from his childhood and incarceration, Donald found it hard to be among so many students at CNM. He dropped out of CNM and registered with Brown Mackie College where he felt it would be more manageable for him.

After 3 months in the shelter he had to move out due to their time limitations. Going back out to the streets and living in his car, he continued to work on his degree and find housing. It took over 13 months to finally get connected with SHC-NM but in 2015 he received a voucher for housing. Within 30 days SHC-NM staff helped him secure an apartment. Now he no longer considers giving up. “There is no reason to give up, I can continue my education. Because of SHC I can think clearly and see tomorrow.”

So next month when Donald graduates, he will be able to plan for his future. “Before this, I never saw my future, I lived one day at a time. I now have peace of mind and independence. I couldn’t have done this without a roof over my head. SHC gave me an opportunity to have an address, and I can focus on furthering my education after graduation.”


A Home, A Neighbor, A Community

“We have to form a community, we are dependent on one another.” ~ Tony

When I went to interview Tony, he was baking a green chile apple crisp and urging me to bring it back to share with the office. It became clear as he told me his story, that giving back to the community is not just words, but how he lives his life.

As an Air Force veteran who worked as a senior software technician, Tony never imagined that he would become homeless. Upon leaving the Air Force, he lived off investments and attended graduate school, intending to become a doctor of oriental medicine. He was even planning a trip to China. However, 2 months before he was scheduled to leave, Tony was seriously burned in a fire while helping a friend clear some brush from his property. The experience left him not only physically injured but also suffering from PTSD and depression. He was also broke. The economic crisis had wreaked havoc with his investments. Without the money from his investments and unable to work because of his injuries, Tony lost his home.

Initially Tony tried to get help from the VA, but because his injuries were not combat related, he could not receive services from them. He ended up at UNM where he still receives mental health counseling. However, Tony still needed a place to live. He was able to live in crisis housing for 6 months but when that ended he ended up “couch-surfing” with friends or staying in shelters. With the help of his case manager, Tony filed for disability and housing. He was permanently housed in a SHC-NM apartment home in 2010 and has lived there ever since.

“I am so grateful for SHC and my home,” states Tony, “these are not just apartments, they are homes to people. When I was homeless, all my networks dissolved, they got chipped away a little at a time. We have to form a community, we are dependent on one another.” And for Tony, community is at the heart of everything. He believes that if you can give back to others, you should. He makes food for his fellow tenants during the holidays and, when he was finally able to afford one, he bought a car big enough to take his neighbors to food banks. So while Tony is grateful for his home and his community, I am grateful to have Tony as a neighbor and friend.

by Jen Bear, SHC-NM AmeriCorps VISTA

Thank you to our 2016 Donors!

Many of our 2016 donors and partners gathered at Downtown @700-2nd for our annual Donor Appreciation Reception. Everyone who attended received exclusive SHC-NM note cards featuring artwork by Tony and Julianna Pelletier. The original artwork for the cards was sold via a silent auction. Brian Colón won the auction. Tony and Julianna also sold their art at the event and donated half of their proceeds to SHC-NM. Steve King, outgoing board president and Phyllis Taylor, outgoing board secretary/treasurer were recognized for their service. Both will continue to serve on the 2017 Board of Directors.

We are very grateful to all those who support our mission to end homelessness!

Please check out the photos from the event:

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Putting the “Support” in Supportive Housing

“If I didn’t know that I had a bed to lay my head on, it would be tough to maintain my sobriety. And without my service coordinator, I would be back on the streets. I had to relearn how to live like a “normal” person. I am now more motivated to get out the door and do the things I’m supposed to do. Sylvia is teaching me how to walk – but she is there to carry me if I need it.” – Richard K.

Those of you reading this know that SHC-NM provides permanent, supportive housing in our efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness. The permanent part is easy to understand, we house people in actual apartment homes that are theirs for as long as they abide by the terms of their lease. But what about the supportive part of the picture? For people like Richard, that is where Service Coordination begins.

Richard was homeless for fourteen years, suffering from mental illness and self-medicating with alcohol and drugs to deal with a condition he didn’t understand. A chef by trade, Richard had difficulty holding down a job because of his mental illness. “But I got tired of it all,” he explains, “it was time for me to get a normal life and I was determined to get that sobriety.” After a few false starts Richard was finally able to get a handle on his drug and alcohol addictions. But it wasn’t until he was housed by SHC-NM that he was finally able to stabilize his mental health and begin to take care of himself. He attributes that not only to having a safe place to live but to his Service Coordinator.

SHC-NM partners and contracts with Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless (AHCH) to provide services for our clients at three of our properties and for 2 of our Housing Urban Development (HUD) funded housing voucher programs. This partnership makes it possible for SHC-NM to focus on getting Richard a safe place to live while Service Coordinators from AHCH ensure that he and other clients like him are offered what they need to stay in that safe place.

For Richard, this has made all the difference. Once safe and housed with SHC-NM, Richard was offered the opportunity to work with an AHCH Service Coordinator, Sylvia. He eagerly agreed to try it out. Through client-centered goal setting Richard identified a desire to be more mentally healthy. Sylvia worked with him to set that up and he started seeing a therapist and going to the doctor regularly. “She’s like my mom,” he says with a grin. “She tells me how I should go about [solving a problem] and then leaves it up to me. That’s the nice thing about it.” What Richard means is that he drives his service coordination plan and that neither SHC-NM nor AHCH force him to utilize services to stay housed. Because all services are client-centered and voluntary, Richard is able to make his own choices about which services he wants or needs.

“The key,” Sylvia explains, “is to let the client set the agenda. Services are not required for housing so I am very sensitive in how I approach them. I always ask their permission before taking actions on their behalf and I actively listen.” One of Sylvia’s approaches is asking the client, “What was life like for you before becoming homeless? What hopes and dreams do you have now? Are any of these long term or short term? Which do you want to take action on? What steps do you need to do to get there?” From there an individual service plan develops and clients choose what, if any, steps they want to take to achieve their identified goals.

Sylvia takes time to analyze how her clients approach their individual issues and understands that many have difficulty with change. While she often helps with getting her clients through difficult paperwork and processes, she also works on empowering them to do things for themselves. “Each person has a unique way they deal with trauma and most people don’t understand that. They have allowed me into their home to see their suffering. They have put their trust in me. Seeing their everyday struggles just to get out of bed, get dressed, take care of themselves…I have to be very careful about how I approach them.”

For some newly housed clients, simply getting out of bed and getting dressed or going to the grocery store is a big accomplishment. Richard explains, “It is the simple things that people take for granted. I was terrified of going out my door. When I first got housed I slept in my sleeping bag on the floor even though I had a bed! I kept my backpack by the door. I had to relearn everything like how to deal with a landlord.” Explains Sylvia, “Richard needs to be empowered to get out of his house and take care of his needs. I’ll take him the first time but I try to step back whenever possible.” Richard not only feels respected by this process, he is empowered. “Sylvia respects my privacy. She also lets me know that there are things I have to do on my own. I need to do that.”

Richard’s long term goal and dream is to write a cookbook of healthy easy recipes. “I am able to live a much better life now,” says Richard. “I’m not a shut-in anymore. I volunteer at Animal Humane where I walk dogs. I went fishing by myself twice last week, went to a couple baseball games. I used to avoid problems and hide. Now I face it. If I don’t understand, I call Sylvia. I have a life now and,” he says with big smile, “I’m a functioning ‘nut’ now.”

Getting Housed Means Getting Well

HectorHector has worked hard all his life and he took great pride in that. But it all changed two years ago when Hector was diagnosed with a disabling condition that left him unable to work. He had always been healthy but suddenly he started to feel sick all the time and lost a lot of weight. Hector was hospitalized for five days and it was there they discovered he had diabetic neuropathy, a condition that damages the nerves in ones legs and feet. He explains, “My blood sugar was so high, I almost died.”

Hector kept trying to go back to work but he was never able to handle the physical requirements of his jobs because of his condition. It was difficult to get work and impossible to treat his illness without a home. “I had my own apartment,” he explains, “then I got sick. So I sold everything to try and pay rent, cashed in my 401K. But I had to move out.” “I stayed with friends a few days a week but would end up having to leave so I would sleep in my car. And I have sleep apnea too and you can’t plug in your breathing machine when you are in your car.”

Then one day, very recently, a friend of his who works at the Apartment Association of New Mexico urged him to apply to the apartments run by Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico. Hector came to us and fortunately we had a unit available. Because of his disability, Hector already qualified to be housed at the property. However, SHC-NM also has a “homeless preference” in our Tenant Selection Plan at our HUD 811 properties. That means that we are able to house people who are experiencing homelessness quickly even if there is a waiting list for the units.

For Hector, all this was beyond his expectations. He was especially touched when he received his “Welcome Home Basket” from SHC-NM filled with items to help him get started in his new home. “I have hope now,” says Hector, “hope that I can treat my illness and get back on my feet now that I have a stable place to live. I still can’t believe I have my own place.”

For more information on the HUD homeless preference click HERE.

For more information on SHC-NM’s Welcome Home Basket Project click HERE.

SHC-NM and the Albuquerque Heading Home Initiative

SHC-NM and the Albuquerque Heading Home Initiative

Anthony and Trina
Trina Lopes, Housing Specialist, assists Anthony with his paperwork

Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico is the provider of housing for Albuquerque Heading Home (AHH),  a unique collaborative initiated by the City of Albuquerque and Mayor Berry designed to address chronic homelessness. Our organization works with the collaboration to immediately house the most vulnerable citizens of our city without duplicating services. The coordinated effort of multiple partners specializing in outreach, referrals, housing, case management, and other supportive services allows SHC-NM to do what we do best, place people quickly and efficiently in safe and affordable housing.

So what does it mean to provide housing for AHH? SHC-NM is responsible for managing the housing vouchers for the program. Upon referral to our Community Housing Program, applicants meet with our highly qualified Housing Specialists who ensure eligibility of the applicant, conduct intake assessments, provide apartment options, calculate rent, approve the unit, establish and maintain relationships with landlords, conduct unit inspections, schedule and conduct the lease signings, and provide support to the newly housed participant.

Since 2005, SHC-NM has worked with over 338 landlords in the metro area and currently has working relationships with 150 property managers across the metropolitan area who accept the housing vouchers. Once housed, SHC-NM collects the tenant portion of the rent, if any, and then pays rent directly to the landlord. This helps us maintain regular client contact and assures the landlord that rent will be paid.

Ongoing support is crucial to the success of our clients. Housing inspections are conducted at six months, one year, and annually thereafter. SHC-NM conducts ongoing communication and coordination with service agency staff to discuss needs and issues of participants as they arise and develop action plans if needed.

SHC-NM has successfully operated the City of Albuquerque rental assistance program since its beginnings in 2005 and the AHH initiative since 2011. We have played a critical role in ending homelessness for hundreds of participants with a 90% success rate in housing stability. We are proud to be a part of this highly successful effort.

Love, Healing, Hope

Love, Healing, Hope

One Couple’s Journey

Richard and margaret cropped

Like many of our clients, Richard and Margaret had it all, a home, jobs, and a plan for their future. Margaret, born and raised in Albuquerque, grew up in a loving home and raised two children on her own. Richard, a talented goldsmith, was devoted to his family, loved to cook, and had dreams of opening his own jewelry business. “Our first date was on my birthday,” Richard explains with a big grin, “it took me a year to have her agree to move in with me because she wanted to wait until her kids were out of the house.” As soon as she was able, Margaret moved into the house Richard was renting from his mom. Together they made many improvements to the house, worked at their respective jobs, built Richard’s workshop, and saved money for the day that Richard could open his own business in the jewelry industry. Eventually Margaret left her job so she could help Richard set up his business. They were full of excitement and hope for their new venture.

Then came the foreclosure notice. Richard and Margaret had been paying rent to his mom who, because of a severe gambling addiction, never paid the mortgage. They stayed as long as they could but were ultimately evicted from their home, able to leave with just the clothes on their back and what little they could fit in their cars. “He lost his workshop, his whole life, everything. I was devastated,” says Margaret, “we were locked out and couldn’t return to get our things, and we left behind thousands of dollars in tools.” The money they had saved now went to hotel rooms, paying their bills, and surviving while they looked for other options. The money ran out in a few months so they lived out of their car. But then the car finally broke down.

“We didn’t know about shelters. Mostly we walked around, wasted time by riding the bus, camped here and there, made sure we avoided the police,” they explain. What was the most difficult for both of them was the way that even with the good reputation they had, “people assumed we were criminals, even our family.” Margaret explains dejectedly, “Even my mom thought we had done this to ourselves. With all the sadness I was going through, it was awful to have Mom feel that way about me.”

Richards quote

After 22 months of homelessness, Richard and Margaret were referred to and permanently housed by SHC-NM through the Community Housing program. “You guys were so great, so helpful,” says Richard, “We’re not on the streets anymore because of you. You know, the hardest part about being homeless is the isolation, not knowing who to turn to, knowing your family was right down the street and not being able to turn to them.”

Now that they are housed, Margaret and Richard are taking charge of their lives once again. Margaret makes jewelry that they sell to help make ends meet. And they are a vibrant part of their community, volunteering at the church that Margaret grew up in, assisting with food preparation and handing out food baskets at a local resource center, and most recently starting a greenhouse project where they hope to grow enough food to distribute at the church’s food pantry. Most importantly, they are able to start making plans for their future once again. Richard would like to go back to school and Margaret wants to continue with her jewelry business. In the meantime Margaret is reconnecting with her mom and Richard is healing from the betrayal he experienced from his family. “I’ve learned to let go of my anger about everything that happened to me. I had to for my own health and well-being. I’m learning how to take care of myself and to put my relationship with Margaret first.