2019 Annual Report
The New Mexico Department of Health estimates that 3,400 people in the state are infected with HIV. The Emergency Project plays a unique role within the state’s HIV healthcare network. It helps meet the basic living needs of some of the most vulnerable people within that population so they will be more likely to remain in treatment and reduce the chance of spreading infection.
For 31 years, the Emergency Project has helped prevent homelessness for low income New Mexicans living with HIV/AIDS. Ours is “last resort” financial assistance with the flexibility to meet a wide range of needs. We provide up to $200 for rent assistance or to help pay a deposit for a new housing situation when a client is forced to move due to a hostile or dangerous environment. Emergency Project payments also allow clients to maintain utilities without interruption. Checks are mailed within 24 hours; often on the same day that an assistance request is received.
During 2019, the Emergency Project disbursed $37,957 to 207 male, female and transgender clients who are Anglo, Hispanic, Native American, African-American, South African, Asian and Native Hawaiian. This was an increase of $4,851 from 2018 and 17.6% in the number of clients served in 2018. Our assistance payments were primarily for rent, utilities, eye glasses and medical bills. We also assisted clients with health insurance, auto repair, medicine and other necessities of life.
The Emergency Project serves primarily Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but also other New Mexico cities and rural communities. During 2019 we helped clients in Abiquiu, Alamogordo, Anthony, Artesia, Belen, Bloomfield, Chaparral, Chimayo, Clovis, Cuareles, Deming, Dulce, Duran, Espanola, Farmington, Gallup, Glorieta, Hatch, Laguna, Las Cruces, Los Lunas, Mesilla Park, Portales, Ranchos de Taos, Rio Rancho, Roswell, Ruidoso, Silver City, Taos, Tijeras, Tucumcari and Valdez.
We respond to case manager requests from these affiliated public health agencies:
● University of New Mexico Truman Health Services, Albuquerque
● Southwest Care Center, Santa Fe and Albuquerque
● First Nations Community HealthSource, Albuquerque and Gallup
● Community Collaborative Care, Las Cruces
● Alianza of New Mexico, Roswell and Las Cruces
The Emergency Project was established during the “plague years” of the early AIDS crisis, when an HIV diagnosis invariably led to premature death. Thirty-one years ago, clients were primarily gay and bisexual men living in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Over the years our client base has evolved along with the changing face of HIV. During 2019, our clients ranged from minors age 7 to seniors age 80. We have never discriminated on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation.
Picture yourself facing challenges like these that were experienced by some of our clients in 2019:
● You are a 38-year-old transgender woman who has been homeless for four years. You need a $200 deposit to move into a new apartment which cannot be paid for by any other assistance program.
● You are 55, have lost your job and exhausted your unemployment benefits. Due to health issues, you have not been able to obtain new employment and have fallen behind on all your utilities bills.
● You are 63 and living in a small town in Chavez County. You do not have access to medical transportation to Albuquerque for HIV care. You need your car repaired as there are no local options for Infectious Disease care.
● It’s early August, you are 65 and your room air conditioner has stopped working. Because of the repair cost, you are unable to make your full rent payment.
● You are 65 and have numerous medical issues with costly out-of-pocket co-pays. With one-time assistance, you can continue follow-up treatment with a specialist for the care you need.
● You are 67 and need new eye glasses. You do not have vision coverage through Medicare. It’s early September and you have had higher than usual electricity bills so you are unable to pay for new glasses out-of-pocket.
● You are 67 and reside in a rural part of Santa Fe. You live on a fixed income and are unable to pay for firewood to heat your home in the coming winter months.
The Emergency Project operates in a low-key, direct, individual manner with a minimum of bureaucratic detail. For its first 20 years, equal rights activist Liz Canfield managed the project as a volunteer out of her home. Today two other volunteers oversee the project: Steve Ridlon, Director since October 2008, plus Common Bond board member Dylan Lutey. Because Steve donates the cost of the Project’s limited operating expenses, 100% of private donations and grant funds are disbursed to people in critical financial need.
During 2019, the Emergency Project received $30,000 from the New Mexico Department of Health, $5,000 from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, $5,846 from the Albuquerque Pride 2018 HIV Walk, $250 from Unica Real Estate, plus $11,845 in private donations largely in memory of Liz Canfield.
For more detailed information, please e-mail: EmergencyProjectNM@gmail.com
Your tax-deductible donations, payable to “Common Bond NM Emergency Project,” can be mailed directly to: P.O. Box 8313, Albuquerque, NM 87198. Or you can use the “Donate” button on this website. Thank you!