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Community of Hope receives $2.5 million grant to help end homelessness


The Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) has received a $2.5 million Bezos Day 1 Families Fund grant to help end family homelessness in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, MVCH Executive Director Nicole Martinez said in a Nov. 17 news release.

MVCH serves people experiencing homelessness and those who are precariously housed with shelter, housing and income programs.

The one-time grant – which is the largest grant Community of Hope has ever received – will allow MVCH to “provide outreach, shelter diversion, supportive services and housing to families experiencing homelessness or who are precariously housed,” Martinez said.

More specifically, it will allow Community of Hope to “partner with lots of community agencies, including Las Cruces Public Schools, to help us identify families and really target this reduction in family homelessness,” she said. “I also want to partner with motels to get families out of shelters until we can get them into housing.”

Martinez said values underlying the grant include “helping the neediest families first, such as those who are unsheltered, have young children or include family members with disabilities; advancing racial equality and using resources to address racial disparity; establishing families in housing – shelter alone is not the goal; and ensuring that families have access to the services and resources they need to end their homelessness and achieve well-being.”

MVCH was one of 32 nonprofits around the country selected to receive the grant, the MVCH news release said. A total of $96.2 million will be awarded in total.

Launched in 2018 by Amazon founder and executive chair Jeff Bezos, the Day 1 Families Fund issues annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle-moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families, the news release said.

MVCH was selected as a Day 1 Families Fund grant recipient by an independent advisory board comprised of homelessness experts with experience in policy, advocacy, racial equity, child welfare and housing and service delivery, as well as firsthand experience in homelessness, the news release said.

“Mesilla Valley Community of Hope helped me get back into society mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Amiee Martinez, who helps to manage the organization after she herself lived in the tent city it operates. “I lived in Camp Hope until they got me into housing and am now on the board of directors.”

MVCH, 999 W. Amador Ave., was founded in 1991. It served 3,263 clients in FY 2020-21, including 228 veterans and provided shelter to 254 people in Camp Hope tent city. It provided housing to 809 people during the year, including 258 children. During FY 2019-20, MVCH served 2,744 clients, including 317 veterans, and provided shelter to 234 people in Camp Hope. It provided housing to 570 people, including 150 children.

MVCH’s 2021 Tents to Rents fundraiser to help move people struggling with homelessness into their own apartments raised a record $76,702.

Visit www.mvcommunityofhope.org.

Mesilla Valley Community of Hope