Hi, my name is Larry. For most of my life, I have struggled with relentless emotional agony and unhappiness. In first grade I became alienated from classmates since most students failed to understand my withdrawn personality and mood swings. I felt different than the other children and out of place in their environment. During my childhood Tippy Dog came into my personal world, and became my lifelong friend and companion.
Throughout my adolescent stage, I experienced frequent periods of schizophrenia, clinical depression, social phobia, and panic attacks. As a result, my life as a teen was very trying. I would not have made it without my invisible friend Tippy. Around the age of 13 I frequently thought about suicide. During my late teens I nearly succeeded in taking my life several times. At the age of 18, my community counselor made arrangements with staff people at a state hospital to admit me. She said that I would be evaluated for ten days and then be released, but unfortunately I remained an in-and-outpatient at the hospital until my release at age 21 (almost 22). Just before my release, a psychiatrist told my dad and me that I would probably be back and remain an in-and-outpatient for the rest of my life.
At the age of 22 (almost 23), I decided to go to college and learn all that I could about emotional and physical wellness so that I could better understand myself and possibly in the future, help other people who suffer from emotional challenges. It was tough in college, and some professors demanded that I continue psychotherapy while attending school. With the help of my college psychiatrists, exercise, good nutrition, understanding professors, and meds, I obtained a bachelor, master's and PhD.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to hold on to jobs, and hardly find any due to my history of emotional suffering. As a result, my counselor at UNM obtained SSI for me and my case manager moved me into The New Life Homes housing project for the emotionally challenged and people with special needs. I would be homeless and without hope if not for the NewLife Homes Organization.
Hello, my name is Sandra. NewLife Homes has been a very big help for me. I was homeless for about 2 years. I had to be hospitalized 3 different times at the UNM Mental Health Center. Then I obtained disability assistance. Before I moved here I was living on just $740 dollars a month and paying $450 monthly for rent in a poor apartment. Since living here I have been stable and on my meds. I love living in New Life Homes for it has helped me a lot.
My name is Naomi. I was born in New Mexico and raised between the Isleta Pueblo and Taos Pueblo. Most of my years I spent with my Dad in Taos, went to the Indian High School in Santa Fe, and finished school in Los Lunas. After school I moved to Albuquerque with my Dad and got my culinary arts degree from TRI, which is now CNM.
Around this time in 2000, I had my daughter and my dad got sick and passed away. When he passed was when I started living on and off the streets battling with substance abuse for many years. In 2003 I had my son and stopped working to take care of my kids. I was between Albuquerque and Taos for six years, living on the streets while my kids lived with their Dad’s mother.
In 2009 I lost my first leg to diabetes, but was still able to get by working some. In 2011 I lost my other leg which left me too disabled to continue working. Later I was able to live with my cousin, but one day she called and told me not to come home, so I was on the streets again in January 2014. I stayed at the Rescue Mission for two months, was in and out of the hospital after that due to a viral infection in my hand, and then stayed in a hotel for a month in July 2014.
I moved to the Sundowner August 2014 and have been here ever since. I’ve been able to have a whole new life living here. It’s a great feeling to be able to put my key into my own door and to be able to have a place that’s mine. All my furniture has been donated to me, making it really my home. I’m getting prosthetic legs soon, and should be walking this winter. I’ve even been asked to be a mentor with Heading Home. My nickname around here and with people on the streets is Mom because no matter what happens to me, I always keep smiling.
Here is some advice I have for people moving into their own home. No matter where you are or where you are going, you have to understand that there are people here to help you. You have to work for it, as much as these people work for you. You have to make the change, no matter what, even if people tell you you can’t do anything. When you move into your new home, live up to your standards and your challenges, and live up to your goals. And remember to always live for today.
Eileen Jessen, President of South Altos Neighborhood Association
I would like to share the positive relationship our neighborhood of South Los Altos has had with NewLife Homes. They came to our neighborhood meetings with their plans for the Luna Lodge. Throughout the process they kept our neighborhood association aware of their progress. I was especially excited because I actually live on the same street. Luna Lodge had been in disrepair and fenced off as long as we had owned our home.
It affects the whole look of the street when you have a building that is shuttered.
Since NewLife Homes took over the property they have been wonderful neighbors. The building is very well kept. It looks so much better. I am proud to turn down my street and see their beautiful court yard.
Eileen T. Jessen
President South Los Altos NA
I was an employee of St. Martin’s Hospitality Center for 21 years, until October 15, 2015, when I left for a position offered at another non-profit. St. Martin’s Hospitality Center is a large behavioral health core service agency serving homeless and near-homeless individuals and families. For the last 16 years I was the Client Advocate in the Day Shelter, where I met with 20-30 homeless individuals daily to provide help with transportation and obtaining a NM state ID or driver's license, advocacy, and information and referral, including assistance finding apartments. I have continued my involvement in the homeless services community by convening monthly networking meetings the 2nd Thursday of each month featuring homeless services presentations by various organizations and agencies and by maintaining an informational list-serve of 475 individual staff members and volunteers involved in homeless services.
I first became involved with NewLife Homes (NLH) in 1997 when the NLH Broadway Apartments opened and I began referring eligible clients to NLH for the HUD-subsidized homeless units there and low-income units at Kentucky Manor. As new NLH apartment complexes have been built or remodeled over the years, I continued referring my clients for affordable housing, as did many of my co-workers.
I have always been extremely impressed with the holistic, supportive services provided to NewLife Homes’ tenants, all of whom are low-income, most of whom have serious physical and/or mental health disabilities. John Bloomfield, Executive Director of NewLife Homes, has successfully built a strong network of supportive housing apartment complexes that offer comprehensive services to their tenants, including service coordinators, transportation, weekly food distribution, community gardens, and a community room at each site that provides classes such as life skills, computers, and cooking. In short, tenants are provided with a caring, supportive, nurturing environment in which to maintain their independence and thrive.
The resident managers and service coordinators maintain close contact with their tenants’ case managers (CSWs) at St. Martin’s and other agencies, keeping them apprised of any change in their clients’ well-being and calling whenever their involvement is needed, whether in the case of a crisis or an ongoing concern. This level of support is invaluable to case managers and clients.
I am grateful for NewLife Homes’ development of affordable housing and its ongoing collaborative relationship with the staff of homeless services agencies.