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Nonprofits hope to use the funds to provide transitional living, help homeless people, mentor youth and prevent suicide

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FARMINGTON — The City of Farmington has more than $54,000 that it plans to distribute to nonprofits, and six nonprofits have applied for funding.

The money comes from the Community Development Block Grant. Each year Farmington puts aside a portion of the federal funds to distribute to area nonprofits. For some of these nonprofits, this funding has become a critical part of their budget.

The six nonprofits presented how they would use the money and how much of the grant they would like during a City Council work session on July 16.

The City Council could decide how to distribute the $54,207 during its July 23 meeting, which can be viewed online at fmtn.org.

Here’s a look at the six proposals:

Mentoring children from low to moderate income households

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico has requested $10,000 for a STEM mentoring service.

The organization hopes to increase the number of children matched with volunteers by 15 children this year. It works with the school districts to identify children from low to moderate income that could benefit from being matched with a big brother or big sister.

Site Manager Neilson Francisco told stories about children who have had their lives changed by being matched with a community member

“We’ve all had a mentor in our life,” Francisco said.

Reducing LGBTQ teen suicide

Identity Inc. board member Donald Stage said teenagers who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to commit suicide.

Five to 19 teenagers ages 14 to 17 regularly participate in a support group at Identity Inc. Stage said some of the children need outside therapy. Identity Inc. is asking for $5,000 to help pay for mental health care for LGBTQ youth.

Stage said a lot of the youth have experienced some type of discrimination, including being thrown out of their house by parents who have discovered they identified as LGBTQ.

“We’ve had a couple of kids who were told to go ahead and commit suicide by their ministers,” Stage said. “We’ve had schools where they were bullied and beat up and the schools ignored it. We’re just seeing a lot of the national trends here locally.”

Operating a transitional living facility

Masada House provides a group living facility for women recovering from addiction.

“It’s a home-like environment,” said Executive Director Jessica Stopani. “It’s a regular house.”

Masada House is asking for $20,000 for case management, utilities and general maintenance as well as providing clients with food handler certification. The food handler certification will allow the women who live in Masada House to become employed.

Maintenance, repairs at New Beginnings program

The Navajo United Methodist Center's New Beginnings Program provides help to men, women and children who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. It is a transitional living facility and can house up to 25 people.

According to Executive Director Melissa Tarazon, “100 percent of our residents have experienced trauma, including our kids.”

CDBG provides four percent of the budget for the New Beginnings Program. It allows the nonprofit to pay for some operating expenses.

The nonprofit is requesting $11,990 to help with maintenance and repair.

Paying utilities for homeless shelter, soup kitchen

“Poverty is the number one cause of homelessness,” People Assisting the Homeless Executive Director Jonna Sharpe said. “There’s a lot of poverty in our community. Low wages as well as the lack of affordable housing continue to prevent many individuals and families from progressing in life.”

Sharpe said the nonprofit spends more than $40,000 a year on utilities for all of its programs. It is asking for $18,500 to pay utility bills for two of those programs — the soup kitchen Daily Bread and the shelter.

Sharpe said People Assisting the Homeless serves more about 50,000 meals a year through those two programs.

Reducing, preventing homelessness 

Lynn Love manages the housing assistance program for San Juan County Partnership. He presented the partnership’s proposal to City Council. The partnership is asking for $15,000 for moving costs such as securing utility deposits and first and last month’s rent. This will allow low-income people to move out of homelessness and into permanent housing.

The CDBG funding will help nine individuals or families, Love said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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