Local Entities Learn More About Housing Proposal

In an August commission meeting, Health and Human Services Director Lauren Reichelt, along with Father Terry Brennan of San Juan Catholic Church, presented a proposal for a local transitional living establishment. After the proposal was laid out for the commission to consider, Reichelt and Brennan coordinated a “field trip” on September 24th, which would allow for the public, as well as local entities, to visit a transitional living establishment in Santa Fe, Life Link, which is similar to the proposed one.

In attendance were several Life Link staff, Reichelt, Brennan, RAC Assistant Manager David Trujillo, RAC Commission Chair Barney Trujillo, City of Española Mayor Alice Lucero, Española Presbyterian Hospital Board Member Ray Chavez, Española Presbyterian Hospital Administrator Brenda Romero and Española City Councilor Peggy Martinez among others.

“This program is resourceful and so beneficial,” said Reichelt. “To be able to get something going in our valley like this would be amazing.”

According to Carol Luna, Life Link Executive Director, Life Link’s transitional housing focuses on helping people who are struggling with mental illness, substance addiction, domestic violence, personal loss etc., to recover and transition into society in a productive and progressive manner.  During their stay, which is granted through an application process, clients are offered behavioral health services, psychosocial rehabilitation, employment services and skill building workshops and classes.

Attendees were given tours of two housing complexes: Village Sage Apartments, which offers affordable housing and stabilization services for low-income residents with special needs and third floor housing at Life Link head quarters, which caters to individual tenants.

“This type of housing can be beneficial to people who are in need in our communities,” said David Trujillo. “Figuring out the cost of development, plus staffing and upkeep all play a factor in getting something like this started. It takes work from several entities to make something like this successful.”

According to Reichelt her staff is now in the process of creating stats based on the number of homeless in Rio Arriba County. Brenda Romero also said information related to those in need of homes is also available through her office.  

-Erika L. Martinez