Realtors across the United States continue to advocate and work to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Santa Fe, the association’s community services committee has been busy working to identify ways we can help one another through these uncertain times.

Accessing donations from our Realtor members, the Santa Fe Association of Realtors (SFAR) made two contributions to local charities. The first was a $10,000 contribution to Youth Shelters and Family Services. The mission of Youth Shelters and Family Services is to deliver life-changing shelter and support for homeless, runaway and in-crisis youth. The organization’s vision is to end youth homelessness in Northern New Mexico. Each year, they provide hundreds of bed nights and thousands of hours of case management for young people in our community who would otherwise be living on the street or in unsafe conditions.

According to Youth Shelters and Family Services executive director Shelly Felt, over the past two months more youth have reached out to Youth Shelters and Family Services for assistance with housing. For example, they were recently contacted by a young man who was laid off due to the coronavirus crisis and lost his housing because he could not pay his share of the rent (unfortunately in this case the youth was renting a room without a rental agreement). In another situation, a young woman had to move out of the room she was renting because her housemate tested positive for the virus. This young person has a full-time job; however, she does not have enough money to cover the deposit and first month’s rent.

SFAR funding will be allocated to divert youth into stable housing. The organization will leverage other available funding for crisis housing, short-term housing assistance, and long-term (2-year) housing assistance, while specifically using the SFAR funds to cover the following: rent deposits; first and/or last month’s rent for youth at risk for homelessness; essential get-started move-in supplies, such as pots and pans, mattress, bed frame, cleaning supplies, sheets, and towels; utility deposits; and crisis hotel or motel stays of under 30 days, while waiting for an apartment.

The second donation of $6,750 went to Kaune Kids, a program supported through United Way of Santa Fe. Of that amount, $5,750 was contributed by SFAR and $1,000 was donated by the association’s Affiliates Committee affectionately known as the “A” Team, our devoted group of affiliated organizations that work to support the association and its Realtor members. Kaune Kid’s will use the funds to provide educational “care packages” with hands-on learning and online class projects to the homes of all Kaune Kids; groceries to families in need; and diapers along with formula for families with babies up to 12 months old.

A special shout-out to all of our volunteer committee members who worked with these charities to find ways to help as well as our generous Realtor members who annually donate to the association’s affordable-housing programs!

Paco Arguello is chief executive of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. Contact him at 982-8385 or paco@sfar.com.

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