September 27, 2019 – A new report from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department outlines the ongoing pressure on the state’s behavioral health system. Rural communities are definitely hit the hardest, and many of those communities have no way to respond to urgent situations in a timely manner. Host Gene Grant and The Line opinion panelists discuss why it’s so important for New Mexico to focus its efforts on behavioral health resources, especially after the challenges the system has faced in the last 5-10 years.
Line Panelists: Merritt Allen, Vox Optima LLC
Michael Bird, Public Health Consultant
Jeffrey Candelaria, Konnection Now & KKOB
Laura Sanchez-Rivét, Affirm
March 15, 2019 – Homelessness is a persistent problem in New Mexico and officials in the state’s largest city and in Bernalillo County are rolling out new strategies to help people get off the streets. These include plans for a new, full-service shelter and more supportive housing. They also include connecting people facing homelessness with behavioral health services when they need them because many are grappling with mental health issues. But will these proposals work, and how are they building on current programs? Beyond immediate needs, how will they help people get into permanent stable housing? In this segment we talk with officials from the city of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County as well as nonprofit service providers helping the homeless.
Legislative note: House Bill 657 earned endorsements from dozens of lawmakers. It proposed funding a study of affordable housing in and around Albuquerque, which is closely linked to lifting people out of chronic homelessness. With just hours left in the legislative session, $205,000 is earmarked for the study. It’s part of the so-called junior budget bill, which allots millions of dollars in surplus funding for one-time expenses that are important to lawmakers. More than half a dozen such expenditures have to do with efforts to deal with homelessness.