Where are We? Update Letter from Board Chair
Dear Family Promise of Albuquerque (FPA) Supporter,
I am writing to you to thank you for your continuing support, update you on the shelter, and seek your input and assistance.
First of all, thank you. Without you, the organization could not do the amazing work it does helping families experiencing homelessness.
FPA continues to make a real difference in our community. In 2021, the organization sheltered 18 families and 77 people. This includes 52 children, 15 of whom were under the age of 5, and 25 adults. Beyond sheltering people, FPA provided eviction prevention to 16 families, and graduate support services to 49 families. We are extremely proud of the work FPA has been able to do with your support during the pandemic.
The shelter portion of the program has recently moved from the Church of the Good Shepherd (COGS) to Montgomery Church of Christ (MCOC). COGS has been a very gracious host. Words alone can never express how grateful I am for its willingness to shelter our guests there when the pandemic first broke out. I am also very grateful to MCOC for its willingness to let us move the shelter there this February. MCOC is more centrally located, closer to 1516 San Pedro NE, on a bus line, and has laundry facilities on site.
For most of the pandemic, we limited volunteer interactions with our guests. I am thrilled that we recently have been able to safely increase the level of volunteer interaction with the guests. Initially, volunteers are joining guests for dinner. We continue to explore other ways to increase volunteer participation and interaction. For me, this is crucial and one of the things that makes us unique among organizations helping families experiencing homelessness. It is cause for celebration.
As many of you know, FPA was able to purchase a permanent home that will enable us to grow and provide shelter and other services at the same location. Unfortunately, the cost of renovating our new building at 1516 San Pedro NE has skyrocketed above the original estimates. Two contractors who have recently looked at intermediate-level plans have estimated the cost of renovations at around $1,000,000. At the most recent FPA Board meeting, the Board unanimously voted to ask our architect to draw up renovation plans for eight bedrooms (7 guest bedrooms and 1 host bedroom) with exactly what we need to get the building up to code, and no more. We choose to do this instead of reducing the scope of renovations and capacity. The most significant single cost of renovations is around $300,000 for the fire suppression system, a necessity because we shelter people.
The City of Albuquerque is requesting $500,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funding (CDBG) for FPA from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. We hope to know whether we have been approved for the CDBG money in May or June. If we are, our goal is to start publicly advertising for bids in July.
FPA currently has $163,406 in its building fund. Whether the building fund may be used to pay the mortgage and associated building expenses is a topic of discussion pending before the Board. In short, and assuming we get the CDBG funding, our current fundraising goal is approximately $300,000. The Board is exploring in-kind donations and other ways of reducing the cost of renovations.
I have challenged the Board, myself included, to redouble our fundraising efforts to enable us to complete the needed renovations. However, the Board cannot do it alone. FPA can use any insight or suggestions you have regarding our fundraising efforts. If you are a Rotarian, a Jaycee, a Lion, an Elk, or a member of any other kind of association and your group needs a speaker, we can help. If you or someone you know wants to see 1516 San Pedro NE, we can help. The Board is returning to a committee-driven structure and has established a fund-raising group. If you wish to work with the fundraising group or have suggestions, please contact Valerie Griego at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com or 505 948 4793 (either call or text).
I am also asking for your patience and persistence. When Covid first hit, we believed the renovations would cost $300,000 and that we would be in the new building within 6 months. At the risk of stating the obvious, it has not turned out that way. Speaking of his 7½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Admiral James Stockdale said, “I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.” Join me in having faith in the end of the story, knowing that we will prevail, and, in the end, that we will turn this into a defining moment in the life of FPA.
Thank you again for all your help and support. FPA could not do it without you.
Family Promise of Albuquerque