Justin is a client with ABQ StreetConnect (ABQSC), Heading Home’s prioritized street outreach program. Before he began working with Heading Home, Justin was experiencing homelessness and didn’t have access to shelter, let alone a phone or any commodities. ABQSC was a rock for Justin. He told us that Heading Home was “a place for him to rest his head” while he worked to improve his situation.

Justin has been working with ABQSC Navigator Megan Brown in order to obtain his ID, food stamps and a social security card, everything he needs to qualify for stable employment and housing. He was able to obtain his Social Security income via Heading Home’s wonderful SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program within several months of beginning to receive services with us.

SOAR is a program designed to increase access to Social Security disability benefits for eligible individuals who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. This step is integral in a client’s ability to obtain either permanent or short-term housing.

In 2020, Justin will move into permanent affordable housing where he won’t have to pay more than 30% of his income on rent.

Why ABQ StreetConnect?

Throughout his journey, Justin has received short-term assistance with things like food and medical care from various providers in Albuquerque. However, he wasn’t able to engage with a program at a level deep enough necessary for him to obtain identification and housing.

Justin has experienced trauma in the past and experiences behavioral health struggles. Oftentimes, people in this situation have a difficult time building trusting relationships and require high-intensity wraparound services. ABQSC is unique in that our team provides intensive navigation through services and housing by engaging with clients on the streets, coordinating care with guardians and other providers and accompanying clients to appointments.