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Call Jeremy Reynalds
at 505 400 7145

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A bill recently passed by the Albuquerque City Council has a long wish list for the 2016 New Mexico State Legislature.

Bill R-16-7 contains a laundry list of initiatives which the City says provide “for the health, safety and welfare of the people of Albuquerque.”

They include a request that lawmakers amend the Public Employees Retirement Act (PERA). So doing would allow retired police officers to return to work and still collect a pension. This would help shore up our seriously understaffed Albuquerque Police Department.

This practice was discontinued in 2010. Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry told KOB TV,  “So our plan to get back to 1,000 officers completely relies on us getting back to ‘return to work’”

In Oct. 2015, APD had 135 less officers than the 1,000 officers authorized. The department’s recruiting efforts have been hampered by the inability of many applicants to pass a background check.

Joy Junction Founder and CEO Dr. Jeremy Reynalds said he supports the attempt to amend PERA. “A strong, well trained police department goes a long way to help ensuring the safety of our most vulnerable citizens-the homeless. Adequate staffing levels could mean the difference between life and death for a homeless person whose pillow is a cold and dangerous sidewalk.”

There’s also a request for a Regional Crisis Stabilization Center for Bernalillo County and surrounding areas.

Bernalillo County said on its website, “Recent studies suggest that nearly 50 percent of Bernalillo County residents needing mental health or addiction treatment services are not getting the help they need because of gaps in New Mexico’s behavioral health care.”

Reynalds said, “Such a center is so necessary. Almost daily, Joy Junction encounters individuals who are experiencing apparent mental health episodes. We are not a medical or mental health facility and are unable to help people in crisis who need therapeutic intervention.”

However, Joy Junction had good news to offer.

“Despite what you may have heard, the number of homeless people is not decreasing, and Joy Junction realizes it needs to do more to meet that burgeoning need,” Reynalds said.

He added, “We are very close to launching a modest but exciting renovation and expansion project, which will position Joy Junction to even more successfully continue its legacy of ending homelessness and hunger one life and one meal at a time.”

Reynalds said that with the shelter’s new building program, in which it is already heavily invested, he hopes City of Albuquerque officials will focus on the two issues mentioned above and not get into the emergency shelter business briefly mentioned in their wish list.

“It’s never a good idea to reinvent the wheel, and quite honestly, if the City was to launch an emergency shelter for homeless families (something which is not being done in other areas of the country), there’s no telling what the ultimate result would be. Government funding is notoriously fickle, and what is in vogue this year may be out of favor in years to come.”

Reynalds said Joy Junction shelters as many as 300 people nightly, and feeds more than 16,000 meals a month.