“Generally, churches aren’t very collaborative,” said Valerie Griego, the Social Services Coordinator for a new collaborative called ABQ FaithWorks. “ABQ FaithWorks was created TO collaborate.”

Churches in the Nob Hill area began to notice a lot of foot traffic from folks stopping by to request help. They would hand out a bus pass here and some food there in attempt support neighbors in need. However, the churches recognized that this type of support lacked the deep, long-term engagement necessary for stable outcomes. When these churches came together and realized that they were corresponding with many of the same individuals, possibly duplicating efforts, they asked themselves “what would it look like if we were more strategic?” That is how ABQ FaithWorks was born.

ABQ FaithWorks is a collaborative of eight churches in the Nob Hill area that aims to address the needs of people experiencing the effects of poverty who seek help at their doors. The supporting congregations in the ABQ FaithWorks Collaborative include St. Andrew Presbyterian, First Congregational UCC, St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal, St. Mark’s Episcopal, Monte Vista Christian, First Unitarian, Albuquerque Mennonite and University Heights United Methodist/First United Methodist Community of Hope. These churches wanted to make a stronger impact beyond the small but kind gestures that helped people overcome short-term issues.

As Social Services Coordinator, Valerie Griego corresponds with all eight churches that are part of the collaborative to provide her expertise as a licensed master social worker. When churches encounter individuals in need, Valerie meets with them to conduct a needs assessment and connects them to supportive resources throughout the community. “People who come to me experience a wide range of issues, almost always more than one,” said Valerie. Beyond helping folks connect with resources, Valerie told us that they’re seeking to help people feel valued and build community.

Heading Home provides clinical supervision and support with navigating the landscape of funders who support this type of work. “Heading Home knows that it takes a community to address housing challenges. We are proud to be a part of this nonprofit/faith/government/business collaborative approach to helping people in need,” said our CEO, Dennis Plummer.

Click here to visit ABQ FaithWorks’ website and click here to see their Facebook page.