Endorphin Power Company Take On Tiny Homes Project

Below is a guest commentary article written by Jeffrey Holland, the Executive Director of the Endorphin Power Company (EPC) regarding the proposed Tiny Home Project.

The Tiny Homes project is a joint effort by the City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County to develop and construct a “village” or campus of 35 “tiny homes”.

The Tiny Homes will be one room structures measuring 116 square feet, with electricity only, and the village will have 25 to 35 homes in a gated community design.

The Tiny Homes will be “portable” units built on a chassis like a mobile home.

The village will be constructed on one acre of land with a common area structure for toilets, showers and a kitchen.

Six sites have been identified as a possible site for the project.

Here is a link for more on the Tiny Homes project:

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/08/07/tiny-home-village-creates-giant-nimby-probl/

JEFFREY HOLLAND, LCSW

Jeffrey Holland is a clinical therapist and is currently the Executive Director of the Endorphin Power Company (EPC).

He has been Executive Director for 7 years and was the program director 2 years prior to that.

EPC is arguably the most sought-after transitional living facility in New Mexico and offers a very unique program designed to help individuals dealing with addiction/homelessness.

The EPC program also offers intensive case management and therapy for those in need.

EPC also operates a community center, fitness center and recently purchased a step-down housing triplex to help clients with their transition process while also building a rental history (if necessary).

They have operated for almost 11 years without governmental assistance.

For approx. 20 years, Jeffrey Holland Jeffrey has been involved in helping individuals who face addiction, homelessness and related problems.

Jeffrey Holland started off by volunteering with North Americas first syringe exchange program (National AIDS Brigade). This included street level outreach to sex workers, homeless, those with addiction and mental health issues as well as those individuals with Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Holland has also worked at multiple “halfway homes”, the Bernalillo County MATS (detox) facility, Centro Savila, and volunteers at multiple sites doing pro bono work in the field of addiction and mental health.

ABOUT ENDORPHIN POWER COMPANY

“We provide single occupancy, transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness as a result of substance abuse. We provide a safe, clean and sober living environment where people become part of a healthy community and are encouraged to set and reach goals.

We at the Endorphin Power Company see substance abuse and homelessness as both an individual and social problem. Our goal is to address that problem on both levels at once. We want to contribute to the greater good of local and global communities by promoting the benefits of healthy-living, healthy connections and environmental consciousness.

We seek to cultivate an environment in which individuals and communities foster health, happiness, and awareness through the “Four Pillars” of education, exercise, community and service to others.”

Here is a link and phone number for more information on Endorphin Power Company:

www.endorphinpower.org

Phone: 505-268-3372

GUEST COMMENTARY FROM JEFFREY HOLLAND, LCSW

“I’ve done some serious thinking over the past several days.

When I look at the Tiny Home Village project and think of all the positive outcomes that it might produce. I can easily imagine it helping many people in need. In my mind, there is little reason it should not happen. Then, I am suddenly reminded of the enormous elephant in the room. This elephant is the city and the county. Neither the city nor the county has substantial proof they can build, run or administer anything like a Tiny Home Village with any measure of success.

ABQ residents might or might not be familiar with the Supportive After Care (SAC program) apartments located on the county property at 5901 Zuni SE. This is the same location of the county run Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment Services [detox] program known as MATS. On this property sits a million dollar plus apartment complex built approximately a decade ago to create transitional housing for people dealing with addiction and homelessness.

If I’m not mistaken it has 12 apartments and can house approximately 40-60 people. I’m fairly certain it has never been at capacity. Over the years, they have tried various types of programming and even house other programs such as the women of the Milagros program (It’s called Mariposa under the county). Only recently has it started to operate near capacity. This is not a slight on the county, but it does show how difficult it can be to actually get something of this size and magnitude up and running properly.

The 5901 Zuni SE location would be ideal for a Tiny Home Village pilot project due to the already existing infrastructure, security, walled perimeter, access to services, public transportation, etc. I feel this is an absolute necessity before scaling up to what the city/county is proposing.

It is my opinion that we face a very big problem here. A problem that is very realistic. That problem comes in the form of potentially, wasteful spending. We have actual proof that this has type of endeavor has been tried in a similar fashion with the result being less than stellar or, at least, so it seems. If the city/county move forward with the Tiny Home Village quickly rather than appropriately, the results could be bad, really bad. If that happens, this will be another ART-type situation and they will never have the public’s trust in this area again. The only people who will lose are those people who need the help are the homeless, the addicted, the mentally ill, etc.

This “little brother” complex that seems to be present amongst some politicians appears to guide a lot of policy and decision making. If history has taught us anything it has taught us that New Mexico (Albuquerque, in this case) is a very unique culture and just because something works in Denver, Austin, Phoenix, Seattle, Portland, etc. does not guarantee it will work or even be embraced by the citizens of Albuquerque. I believe a lot of ABQ politicians want our city to move in the direction of the previously named cities. However, the question is, are they going to do it right or do they just want to do it quick.

It is my opinion that for a Tiny Home Village to be accepted, embraced and supported, our elected officials must show the people of ABQ that it will work not just tell us it will work. This can and should be done appropriately and NOT quickly.

Therefore, as much as I want a Tiny Home Village to move forward and for it to be successful, I am beginning to realize I have very little faith in the city/county doing something they have failed at in the past. I am seriously rethinking my support of the Tiny Home Village until an actual pilot program can show efficacy, competence, trust, fiscal responsibility, and, accountability. When was the last time we had all those from any governmental project?

Here’s what I would like to see before a full-scale Tiny Home Village moves forward:

• 5-10 person/couple pilot project that will outline exactly how much it costs to provide services, support, etc. for a minimum of 6 months. This will give us an approximate multiplier on how much we can expect a much larger Tiny Home Village to cost.

• A women’s only project. The women of our community simply do not have enough resources in this area. Quite frankly, we should be ashamed of this fact. These women face challenges and trauma that most men/people will never be able to comprehend. They deserve better and we need to consider this a priority. This population has been ignored for far too long.

• After a pilot program of at least 6 months, we should see detailed financial accounting along with tangible results regarding how and why the program is working and will continue to work moving forward. Positive results cannot be ignored/denied and if it is truly a benefit, positive results will speak for themselves.

• When you can buy a 320sq ft Tuff Shed barn for under $10,000 but a 116sq ft Tiny Home is projected to cost $17k-$20k, something is a little off. These homes should go out to bid. That is not to say the cheapest bid is the best, but I have a strong feeling we can do better than the current project price per sq. ft. while keeping the Tiny Homes aesthetically unique and environmentally friendly.

These are just a few things that come to mind for me regarding this project.

I’ve seen what it takes to provide services for this population and I have run a 20-unit (single occupancy) program for almost 10 years. As a matter of fact, the city/county solicited advice from us for this project.

Let’s do it right, not quick. People’s lives are at stake.

Here is a link for more information on the Bernalillo County, SAC program see:

https://www.bernco.gov/addiction-and-treatment-services/supportive-aftercare-program.aspx

Phone number: 505-468-1569

Good luck getting an answer.

Jeffrey Holland, LCSW

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About

Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.