AlamogordoTownNews.com OTERO COMMUNITY PARTNERS HOSTED DAY OF HOPE
Otero County residents experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity enjoyed a day of free food, service and support from Otero County community organizations on Saturday, November 5. After getting help with housing, job and benefit applications and medical screenings, attendees could connect with one another and community members while enjoying a meal provided by Mountain View Church and Runner’s Refuge.
100% Otero, The Counseling Center Community Rebuild Initiative (Con Alma Health Foundation), Mountain View Church, Love INC, The Otero Health Department, and 32 community partners held a Day of Hope event – a day to provide hope, kindness, a meal, and tangible, usable services to approximately 100 people in need. The special event, modeled after the Stand Down events held for homeless Veterans, took place at Mountain View Church, 1300 Cuba. Combined, the community partners totaled 1,026 interactions with those in attendance.
Day of Hope brought many kinds of services together in one location. “The purpose of this event was to provide people with tangible services and resources on the spot,” said Peg Crim, co-founder of 100% Otero. “To our delight, every partner on hand had something of value to offer our guests - either a service, a product, or information.”
Cricket Affordable Connectivity offered a free cell phone for qualified individuals. Alamogordo Public School’s FLO was on hand to provide vision and hearing screenings, socks, and learning materials for the children. Love INC registered participants for their classes and distributed blankets and snacks.
Medical teams from Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center offered Ask-A-Nurse and Ask-A-Resident services. GCRMC Community Connections was on hand to offer follow-up assistance. The NM Department of Health Otero County Public Health office administered flu and COVID vaccines while the Otero County Health Council passed out COVID test kits. Health coverage information and registration was provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico, Presbyterian Health Plan, and Western Sky Community Care.
Drop-in behavioral health counseling sessions were provided by the Alamogordo Police Department Mobile Crisis Response Team and local behavioral health professionals. The Counseling Center’s LGBTQ+ Programs and Community Based Prevention Intervention and Reunification Services were represented. The Otero County Overdose Prevention Program gave out Narcan and Deterra bags. The Center of Protective Environment (COPE) interacted with those interested in their services. HELP NM registered children for Head Start in Alamogordo and Tularosa and had information about their expectant mother program.
Income Support and the NM Human Services Department registered participants for Medicaid and food stamps. Roadrunner Food Bank signed up people for Link2Feed, enabling them to obtain food from food banks. The Otero County Hunger Coalition provided to-go food bags so attendees would have a meal later in the day. The Housing Authority and Suburban Extended Stay discussed housing issues with those in attendance.
Legal resources were provided by the Self-Help Legal Resource team and the 12th Judicial District. Five attendees were able to ride to the pro-bono legal clinic at the Otero County Courthouse, thanks to a special arrangement with Alamo Rides.
Help with employment and education applications and questions were handled by NM Department of Workforce Solutions, WIOA, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the PACE program at NMSU-A.
The Forward Flag Veterans Van offered free coffee and conversation focusing on veterans’ issues and suicide prevention, while the Veterans’ Intergration Centers made sure that guests had hygiene kits, socks, underwear and blankets.
Local stylist Kenzi Linn provided haircuts while Kent Kwick offered appointments for showers.
Four-legged companions were welcomed too. Paw in Hand’s veterinarian offered heartworm checks and provided vaccinations through the Street Dogs program. Forever Homes Animal Rescue and Animal Village NM made sure the pets went home with some food of their own.
Event Co-Coordinator and 100% Otero Housing Sector Team Co-Chair, Maureen Schmittle said, “the Alamogordo community knows how to step up when a need is expressed. We are so pleased with the number of organizations and agencies that participated.”
“To be ‘housing insecure’ spans a range of situations – staying in a motel unsure if you can afford it beyond this month, ‘couch surfing,’ or just being unable to secure long-term housing”, explained Nadia Sikes, the other event Co-Coordinator and 100% Otero Housing Sector Team Co-Chair. Who experiences homelessness? According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the largest population is single adults, but homelessness also affects families, young children, teenagers, veterans, and those with chronic physical or mental health conditions. LIsa Patch, Alamogordo Public Schools Director of Health Services, said about 130 APS students are considered homeless. Homelessness is devastating, regardless of age, and can have profound physical, emotional, and psychological implications.
The mission of 100% Otero is to prevent childhood trauma by supporting families in Otero County. Lisa Yehle, Co-Founder of 100% Otero, said, “It was heartwarming to see this many organizations coming together to make a difference in the lives of children, adults and families. Our hope is that this will become an annual event.”
100% Otero can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org