I am a case manager at the Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place. I am writing in regards to the recent passing of Joe Jordan-Berenis. To really understand Joe Jordan-Berenis’ impact on the homeless population and the Santa Fe Community as a whole, visit during a resource day (from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday).
Only then is it truly evident Joe’s impact on a wide range of people across an equally wide range of life situations. You will then see much more than the homeless people who receive services daily. You will also see the many volunteers who are the lifeblood of this facility. You will see the low-income people who are housed but otherwise struggling to make it and use this facility regularly for food and clothing. All of these people can tell you of the impact Joe Jordan-Berenis has had on their lives.
Something else of equal importance, again because of Joe, is the money coming into the shelter from the county. The shelter has gone from receiving $10,000 a year to help those in need to receiving funds in the hundreds of thousands to help homeless and low-income guests/clients. This is because of Joe’s relationships with both city and county governmental entities. The shelter receives this funding because under Joe’s leadership, it is understood that this money will get out to those in need in a timely fashion and without the many barriers this population often faces when needing some type of financial assistance. This funding prevents people from falling into homelessness. Joe was a beacon of light to so many people, and his legacy should be brought to attention and celebrated above and beyond the article in last week’s New Mexican.
Joe would admonish me if he could read this. Joe never referred to our guests here as “homeless” or “homeless people,” he would always refer to them as “people experiencing homelessness.” This was typical of Joe to always point out that homelessness is a condition and does not define a person; he was always respectful of each person’s dignity and sensitive to the trauma they have had to endure.