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JVC Agency Partner in the New York Times: Albuquerque, Revising Approach Toward the Homeless, Offers Them Jobs

On December 7, The New York Times published a feature on a current JVC agency placement in Albuquerque.


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Erin Alexander, current Jesuit Volunteer at her placement, St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in Albuquerque, which feeds 400 people on a given day.  – Credit: Mark Holm for The New York Times

They were homeless. But suddenly, as part of a novel attempt to deal with rising poverty and destitution here, they were city workers for the day.

Donning gloves and fluorescent vests, they raked a piece of messy ground by some railroad tracks on the edge of downtown, cleaning up residues of lives that may well have been their own: a soiled burgundy blanket, two Bibles soaked by melting snow, a trail of crushed cans of Hurricane High Gravity Malt Liquor.

For participants, the toil paid off decently: $9 an hour and a lunch of sandwiches, chips and granola bars, enjoyed in a park. For the city, it represented a policy shift toward compassion and utility.

“It’s about the dignity of work, which is kind of a hard thing to put a metric on, or a matrix,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said. “If we can get your confidence up a little, get a few dollars in your pocket, get you stabilized to the point where you want to reach out for services, whether the mental health services or substance abuse services — that’s the upward spiral that I’m looking for.”



Joe Kromrey, current Jesuit Volunteer, re-settling populations experiencing homelessness through St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in Albuquerque.  – Credit: Mark Holm for The New York Times


Read the full article at: Albuquerque, Revising Approach Toward the Homeless, Offers Them Jobs – New York Times 12/7/15 by Fernanda Santos