Homelessness in Los Alamos

Members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church put together food packets to distribute to homeless people in Los Alamos and other communities. Courtesy photo

Homelessness in Los Alamos

By ELLEN MORRIS BOND
Self Help, Inc.

Reggie has been finding doorways and a local park restroom to sleep in each night. He is a former LANL employee who over a period of a year lost his job, his home and vehicle, and his marriage.

Barbara and Kurt, a young couple with an infant, were both laid off in September. They have hitchhiked through various communities of northern New Mexico attempting to find work and came back to Los Alamos where they have roots.

Amy, 18 years old, became addicted to methamphetamine during high school. While working at a fast food restaurant, she has lived in her car in various parts of Los Alamos.

Ralph, a 68-year-old man, became disoriented while traveling and came to the Los Alamos Medical Center Emergency Room. He identified himself by several different names and was uncertain where his family members were located.

The situations are composites of people who are experiencing homelessness in Los Alamos.

Kristy Ortega, executive director of the United Way of Northern New Mexico commented, “Many times these situations are complex; resolving homelessness is not simply placing a shelter around the person. Sometimes it involves mental health or substance treatment to stabilize them as well as a long term plan for medication and/or counseling as well as housing.”

During the week of Oct. 13, local non-profits and the Los Alamos Police Department have identified six homeless people currently in Los Alamos. For a homeless person there is concern that winter is coming.

The Basic Needs Task Group of the Community Health Council will be exploring the issue at its monthly meeting Oct. 21. For more information about this meeting, please contact Kristy Ortega at  kristy@unitedwaynnm.org.

Local Resources for Homeless Families and Individuals:

  • Aaron’s Closet 660.0340
  • LA Cares 661.8015
  • Los Alamos County Social Service Department 662.8312
  • Self Help, Inc. 662.4666
  • United Way Information and Referral 2-1-1
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