The History of MVCH
The history of the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) is a story of alliance and collaboration of faith organizations, community leaders and homeless service providers. In 1991 this alliance shared a dream: to create a single campus to house agencies whose services provided for basic human needs and created a community that offered hope and life changing opportunities.
In 1993, the MVCH was incorporated. Today, there are five agencies with long histories of serving the poor, near homeless and homeless on the campus. Each agency is independently managed and responsible for its own staffing and funding. Each has its own board of directors and mission statement but they all share the vision of promoting dignity and empowering those most in need in our community. In addition to MVCH, the Community of Hope campus includes:
- St. Luke’s Health Care Clinic – http://slhcclc.com/
- El Caldito Soup Kitchen – www.elcaldito.wordpress.com
- Jardin de los Ninos – www.jardinlc.org
- Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Bank – www.casadeperegrinos.org
MVCH’s services include day shelter, temporary overnight shelter at Camp Hope, intensive case management, housing programs, and assistance with disability applications. We work to promote an atmosphere that is respectful, compassionate and professional to build trust and facilitate transitioning out of homelessness and into stable housing.
Nearly all of our clients are homeless but we also serve near-homeless, indigent and disabled clients. We understand that a catastrophic medical condition, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, domestic violence or a lifetime of physical or emotional abuse, substance abuse, poor physical health or mental health issues are some of the life-altering crises that contribute to homelessness.
Other than Camp Hope, which is temporary housing in a tent city, there is no on-site housing at Community of Hope. Our goal is not to place the homeless in shelters but rather to help them secure permanent, affordable housing. With that in mind, in 2006, we began housing people in their own apartments and providing on-site care and support. This is now called Permanent Supportive Housing. In 2008 we opened Abode Hope Housing that is home to 15 clients. At that time we put into place the Housing First Model that houses clients first and then assists them in addressing physical and mental health issues and substance abuse.
In 2011 Camp Hope opened as a tent city for emergency shelter for up to 50 clients, and in 2014 we opened Sue’s House to house chronically homeless women. Keeping Families Together is our most recent program. The theory is that cases of child abuse and neglect would be reduced if homeless families receive housing assistance and supportive services. It works! Heading Home in Albuquerque subcontracted with MVCH to provide the services in southern New Mexico. It has built a strong collaboration with the Children, Youth and Families Department.
Building strong partnerships has been a very important part of our work at MVCH. Partnerships with the other agencies on our campus and with agencies such as the Veteran’s Administration; Children, Youth, and Families Department; Social Security Administration; Income Support division; and mental health care providers gives us a referral base that is essential in helping our clients move forward and into their own homes.
Last year we worked with 2,588 people who were homeless or facing homelessness, which means over 18,000 individual visits to MVCH. We helped 661 formerly homeless individuals, 198 of them children, find permanent housing. Camp Hope was a temporary home to 193 people, 51 women and 142 men.
From the start, Mesilla Valley Community of Hope has developed strong and lasting relationships with local service organizations and agencies. We have developed community resources to aid in the support of our clients during their journey from homelessness or near-homelessness into permanent, affordable housing. Innovation, compassion and the on-going involvement and generosity of our community have guided our growth and sustained us.
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Board of Directors
- Carrie Hamblen, President
- Micah Herold, Vice-President
- Brenda Carver, Secretary
- Bill Foster, Treasurer
- William Fisk, Senior Advisor
- Donald Behnke, Member
- Nancy Beard, Member
- Kevin Gall, Member
- Waynette Bridges, Member
- Bruce A. Ernst, Member
- Charles Hipp, Member
Current Standing Committee Chairs
- Financial Committee, Bill Foster
- Volunteer Committee, Waynette Bridges
- Development Committee, Carrie Hamblen
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Tributes and Awards
- Outstanding Supportive Services Provider, Aide Lechuga, staff; New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, 2016
- The HMIS Data Counts Award in 2015 from the NM Coalition to End Homelessness
- LULAC Hispanic Women Leadership Award to Executive Director, Nicole Martinez, 2015
- Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, Woman of Distinction, Nicole Martinez, 2015
- Outstanding Community Development Partner, NM Mortgage Finance Authority, 2016
- NonProfit Leader of the Year 2013: Nicole Martinez, Honorable Mention New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness
- Volunteer of the Year 2013: Randy Harris, For The Great Conversation at MVCH, New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness
- Most Inspiring Idea of the Year 2012: Camp Hope from the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness
- Movers and Shakers of Las Cruces: Nicole Martinez, Executive Director, 2013 Las Cruces Sun News
- Direct Services Employee of the Year: Sue Campbell – 2012 New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness
- Ellen Dailey Consumer Advocate Award: Sue Campbell, 2012
- NAMI – Dona Ana County Exemplar Award, Sue Campbell, 2012
- Audrey Nelson National Community Development Association Award, 2006. This national award recognizes agencies that make a difference in their community through their use of Community Development of Block Grant funds.