Community Resources to Improve Quality of Life in New Mexico
Quality of life can be difficult to define because it’s often shaped by individual preferences and experiences. It can also be a delicate subject. Having to admit that you’re struggling to put food on the table or provide the basic necessities for you and your family is difficult. Seeking help for these issues can be even more challenging. Thankfully, there are resources in our community for those in need.
Viante used our Quality of Life Metrics as a baseline of where we want to improve our state’s quality of life and put a list of resources together for each topic. Discover ways you can get involved to help improve our state’s quality of life.
Poverty is one of the more pressing issues that our society faces today. Millions of Americans throughout the country are currently suffering from the effects of poverty, which are wide ranging. Poverty can affect a person’s health, mental health, self-esteem and potentially determine whether or not they turn to crime as a source to provide for themselves and their family. Thankfully, there are some actions that those who are living in poverty can take to manage the effects of poverty in their local community. Below are a few resources New Mexicans can use to assist their community:
- ROADRUNNER FOOD BANK: The Roadrunner food bank of New Mexico is one of the many organizations that provides food to those unable to afford it. According to their website, they distribute “hunger relief to 70,000 children, adults and seniors who do not have enough food. [They] distribute more than 30 million pounds of food statewide every year.” This organization actively looks for volunteers and donations to help feed those in need.
- NM CENTER ON LAW AND POVERTY: This organization provides training for advocates and legal advocacy for low-income New Mexicans by generating systemic solutions and addressing problems with Medicaid, Food Stamps, NM Works, General Assistance and other programs. These resources are intended for low income people through the use of class actions, distribution of “know-your-rights” pamphlets, and other means. This organization is actively looking for donations and interns to assist with their work.
- THE FOOD DEPOT: The Food Depot is another organization that is seeking assistance in the form of volunteers and donations. Their mission is similar to many other food bank organizations where they focus on ensuring children and the elderly do not go hungry.
- EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE: Equal Access to Justice is an organization that provides legal counsel to New Mexicans with civil legal problems who could otherwise not afford the legal help. According to their website, providers work with cases like “housing and shelter rights, domestic relations, consumer issues, government benefits, health care, Indian tribal issues, and protection of land and water rights.” This organization is looking for volunteers and donations to assist in their mission of providing legal assistance to the impoverished.
Labor Force Participation
Labor force participation is another huge issue for New Mexicans. Labor force participation is the percentage of state residents age 16 and older who are participating in the labor force. According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, New Mexico’s Labor Force Participation Rate is at 58.2% as of March 2019. It’s important to have a healthy labor force that promotes a robust economy because a lack of participation can often lead to other consequences like crime. There are several organizations that people can volunteer or donate to that helps improve labor force participation and assists New Mexicans in finding jobs.
- ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO EMPLOYEMENT RESOURCE CENTER: The Albuquerque New Mexico Employment Resource Center is one of the various organizations dedicated to helping New Mexicans find jobs. According to their website, “these centers serve as a place where jobseekers can find employment opportunities, learn how to write a résumé or cover letter, and receive one-on-one mentoring and guidance.” The center is open to the public and is free of charge, meaning anyone can come in for assistance.
- GOODWILL: Goodwill actively works to help new Mexicans find jobs. The goal of their program is to assist participants in securing long-term community-based employment. Any donation of money or any item goes to funding these programs.
Cost of Living
Cost of living is one area that New Mexico does fairly well in. in fact, the cost of living is one of the many reasons people chose to move to the land of enchantment. According to an article by Go Banking Rates, New Mexico is ranked “19th out of 50 on a cost of living index for the 2018 year.” This low cost of living allows families to save more for other living expenses. While New Mexico is one of the less expensive states, there are still families that struggle to make ends meet. Below are a few organizations and programs that can assist in managing the cost of living and help make it more manageable for these families to make a living.
- JOY JUNCTION: The center is an emergency homeless shelter for families, couples, women, and a limited number of single men. Meals are offered to guests only. This organization readily accepts volunteers and donations. This serves as a much-needed resource to those who may down on their luck.
- VINCENT DE PAUL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: St. Vincent DePaul is a Roman Catholic organization that assists all people, regardless of faith. It provides assistance with gas, electricity, utility, water bills, and electric bills. This organization accepts donations and volunteers and can help mitigate the cost of living for families that are not earning enough.
- HOME EDUCATION LIVELIHOOD PROGRAM (HELP): This organization provides assistance to Bernalillo County families with paying for utility bills, rent and will even provides free food vouchers if applicants are not currently receiving food stamps. However, residents may only apply and receive assistance once per year by a given household.
- CENTER FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND HOUSING ASSISTANCE: This organization is dedicated to helping New Mexicans with housing assistance. Their programs range from “one-time rental assistance to long-term permanent housing programs.” This organization accepts donations and volunteers to help further its mission of providing housing assistance to those in need.
Median Household Income
According to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2016 the average median household income for the state of New Mexico was reported at $45,710. Compared to the rest of the United States, this figure is relatively low. There are existing organizations that could help New Mexicans find better jobs and could help raise the Median Household Income of New Mexico.
- THE ALBUQUERQUE NEW MEXICO EMPLOYMENT RESOURCE CENTER: This organization is one of the various organizations dedicated to helping new Mexicans find jobs. “These centers serve as a place where jobseekers can find employment opportunities, learn how to write a résumé or cover letter, and receive one-on-one mentoring and guidance.” Their services are all free of charge. (This organization is previously listed under the category, Labor Force Participation, but this organization also helps potential workers gain skills that would allow them to apply for better paying jobs.