Heading Home’s ABQ StreetConnect team completed Population Assessments with support from the Albuquerque Police Department throughout the month of August. The goal of Population Assessments is to directly engage with Albuquerque residents who are experiencing homelessness in order to understand their needs and barriers to service. We had conversations with people to learn more about their backgrounds, how they came to live on the streets, what keeps them from staying in local shelters, what services they’ve accessed in the past, etc.

The aim of ABQ StreetConnect is to establish ongoing relationships that result in permanent supportive housing for these clients, many of whom suffer from severe behavioral health issues. The program provides case management, intensive navigation of housing and support services and access to disability benefits (SSI/SSDI). Population Assessments are one of the first steps in identifying potential ABQSC clients.

Of the 37 clients we surveyed, only 9 had completed the Coordinated Assessment. The Coordinated Assessment System is meant to help connect people experiencing homelessness to supportive housing programs and the first step in accessing services is to complete the assessment and receive a priority score. The fact that only about ¼ of the individuals we surveyed had completed the assessment tells us that our community needs to make the Coordinated Assessment more accessible.

Many individuals have had negative, sometimes traumatic experiences that make them feel apprehensive about accessing services. At Heading Home, we recognize and respect the unique needs and circumstances of the people that we serve. We aim to approach everyone with compassion and respect by building trust with people and learning how they want to be approached so we can successfully connect them with services to help improve their circumstances.

Click here to read more about the ABQ StreetConnect program on Heading Home’s website.