Briefs

FEMA and city government offer supplies and support to an estimated 1,500 evacuees in Albuquerque

By: - May 18, 2022 4:12 am

The John Marshall Health and Social Service Center has been converted into a hub for wildfire evacuees who’ve come to Albuquerque. (Photo by Gino Gutierrez for Source NM)

Once a hub for COVID relief and a drive-through for small business owners collecting assistance checks, the John Marshall Health and Social Center has been converted into an Albuquerque hub providing resources for fire evacuees from Northern New Mexico. 

Evacuee hub in Albuquerque

John Marshall Health and Social Center

1500 Walter Street SE

Open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mayor Tim Keller said there are approximately 1,500 evacuees in New Mexico’s most populous city. They range in age from 1-month-old to 90-years-old or more. 

While a majority of those who evacuated to Albuquerque have friends or relatives in the city, Keller said there are still gaps in the support structure. That’s where this community hub comes in. “This is a one-stop shop to make evacuees’ lives less stressful,” he said. 

The center is providing evacuees with basics like food, laundry detergent and water. In the supply room, people step up to a table where their name is taken down and they are asked what they need. Volunteers with the Albuquerque Community Safety Department collect the items and bag them together. 

City representatives are also checking in with individuals at hotels daily to see what supplies they need. While there are plenty of supplies on site, Erica Gutierrez, a supervisor, said the city is still accepting donations, especially of personal and femanine hygiene products. Everyone who can should donate, she said.

Donation items needed

  • Body Wash
  • Baby Wash
  • Conditioner
  • Diapers
  • Depends
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Laundry detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Snacks
  • Socks

Drop them off John Marshall Health and Social Services Center (1500 Walter Street SE) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Evacuees can also take advantage of mental health counseling services available to them both on-site at the community hub or in their hotel room. The counselors are members of the ACS behavioral health responders and also volunteers who are available in-person or by phone Monday through Friday, Gutierrez said. 

“They can also go door-to-door at the hotels, so if there is a crisis, a mental health issue, or they just want to talk to someone, they will be provided that help,” she said. 

Information on these mental health services is available to all evacuees who visit the center. 

 

The city is housing roughly 300 evacuees in converted hotels. But Keller also expressed concern over capacity constraints when it comes to lodging, especially come fall.

“If we get to the Balloon Fiesta, then we have a different problem,” Keller said. 

The city is working with six hotels in terms of lodging and more contracts within the works, according to Roger Ebner, director of the Office of Emergency Management. 

For those evacuees seeking housing in Albuquerque, call (505)-244-8604

Stay up to date on services in Albuquerque by texting ABQevac to 78015

Space is still available for people with RVs to park for free at Balloon Fiesta Park. Those individuals are also being supplied with food and water by the city. 

In addition to city services, there is a federal presence at this hub. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is on site providing assistance to those filling out disaster relief applications available for individuals from Colfax, Lincoln, Mora, San Miguel, and Valencia Counties. 

FEMA staff came from across the country after a call was sent out, and it was on a first-come, first-serve basis, reps explained. Those who signed up were flown to Albuquerque almost immediately.

How long will FEMA be  here in New Mexico? As long as they are needed, said Carmen Rodr​​íguez. “We’re going to be here until the government of New Mexico doesn’t need us,” she said. “There is no date of leaving. FEMA is here, and we’re here to help.”

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Gino Gutierrez
Gino Gutierrez

Gino Gutierrez is a reporter/producer for 101.1 KSFR, Santa Fe Public Radio and covers the city of Albuquerque. Born and raised in Albuquerque, he attended the University of New Mexico where he majored in multimedia journalism. While at UNM, he also served as both the sports and managing editor for the New Mexico Daily Lobo.

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