FARMINGTON — Rebecca Gomez has spent the past year crafting quilts, and she's not done yet.
The 85-year-old Farmington woman machine-sewed 120 quilts — making an average of three or four per week — for the beds at Farmington's new People Assisting the Homeless home. She plans to make at least a dozen more.
"It means a lot to me because if you can help people who are struggling, in the cold, then it's the least you can do, to help," Gomez said. "I was very happy to donate my time, of course."
Gomez was among those honored at a celebration Thursday that thanked the corporate, individual and faith-based donors who helped build a home for those in need. More than 100 donors gathered in the common room of a recently completed PATH home on Hydro Plant Road, located on a leafy 5-acre parcel of land along the south bank of the Animas River.
The new home includes a 60-bed emergency homeless shelter and 12-unit apartment building for transitional housing.
Construction on the 13,600-square-foot facility began last May. The home is expected to open its doors next month.
Dr. Matthew deKay is a local physician and founder of the Four Corners Foundation, a nonprofit that coordinated fundraising for the new PATH home. So far, the organization has raised about $2.6 million of the new home's $3.3 million cost.
The home is the foundation's first community investment project. A majority of the funding came from private donations and local businesses.
At Thursday's appreciation event, deKay praised the collective efforts of the community and thanked God for helping build the new PATH home.
"The character of a community is measured by how well it cares for the poor and those struggling," deKay said. "Farmington is a community with great character. You all have helped build a better Farmington."
The facility will house to 74 residents — more than twice the number the original PATH home on Piñon Street, which opened in 1983, can hold.
Residents at the facility pay a program fee — not rent — on a sliding scale, following U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines, said Elizabeth Pettyjohn-Broten, a resource development coordinator with Four Corners Foundation. They must secure employment within 30 days, and half of all pay they earn is kept in a savings program. Residents also must complete chores and enroll in a variety of life skills classes.
"That's why we're here tonight," deKay said. "We are about to change the face of homelessness in Farmington."