Heading Home, along with the City of Albuquerque’s Family and Community Services department, is operating a Wellness Hotel for families and individuals experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque. We are providing families with a safe place to stay while connecting them to permanent supportive housing and other resources. A key community partner at our Wellness Hotel is the Pathways Navigators.
When new guests arrive at the Wellness Hotel they are strongly encouraged to meet with the Pathways Navigators. The Pathways Navigators provide all-encompassing triage case management and ultimately refer the guests to appropriate housing agencies. They help guests navigate their situation and connect them to resources such as behavioral healthcare. When a family or individual comes without any possessions the Pathways Navigators help get them clothes, shoes, diapers, etc from our donation room. The Pathways Navigators help Heading Home ensure each guest feels welcome.
The Pathways Navigators handle any crises, domestic violence, and trauma that guests may be experiencing. If needed they advocate with the Children, Youth, and Families Department or parole officers on behalf of the guests. They walk alongside the clients as they encounter barriers to finding appropriate housing such as individuals having felonies or past evictions. One of the biggest barriers our clients face is the lack of proper housing. The Pathways Navigators stick with the clients for as long as it takes for our guests to successfully transition out of homelessness.
For families, working with the Pathways Navigators makes sure the kids are connected to the schools. If needed they ride the bus with the kids and make sure they have internet access for online school and homework. There is an Albuquerque Public School social worker on-site as well. The Pathways Navigators have helped organize a summer learning program for this summer specific to the kids staying at the hotel that will keep them engaged with learning. Many of the kids who were lost to the school system or unable to attend school are back in school and accounted for because of their affiliation with the Pathways Navigators.
Heading Home is proud of the environment of deliberate care and kindness that the Pathways Navigators have been instrumental in creating. There is a sense of community at the Wellness Hotel and it is clear Heading Home and the Pathways Navigators are dedicated to ending homelessness and empowering people experiencing homelessness in our community.