processed by IntelliTune on 15112012   172338with script _New Nice Image-CTP
processed by IntelliTune on 15112012 172338 with script _New Nice Image-CTP
FARMINGTON — Homeless advocates, officials and residents gathered for a ground breaking and tree planting ceremony Thursday for A Path Home, a 12,500-square-foot transitional housing facility that will replace the current PATH homeless shelter.

The project has been in the works for 18 months, and advocates said it will improve local neighborhoods, address general homelessness in San Juan County, expand economic opportunity, create jobs and improve family stability.

"I can't tell you how excited we are to be here today," said Matt deKay, president of the Four Corners Foundation board of directors. "It will be a measure of the character of our city. A city's character is measured by how they care for their poor and underserved."

The facility will house 60 people and four families. It's part of a master planned development project on a 5.27 acre site at 520 Hydro Plant Road in Farmington that arose out of a partnership between the Four Corners Foundation and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).

The new homeless shelter is the Four Corners Foundation's first project. It began about 18 months ago when deKay expressed the desire to build a new shelter. Dr. deKay wanted to do something for the homeless," said Jonna Sharpe, executive director of PATH in Farmington.

The partnership between PATH and the Four Corners Foundation will improve care for the region's homeless population, she said.

The foundation is providing the infrastructure, PATH will provide the services and staff.


The partnership is a natural one, Sharpe said. The old PATH shelter does not provide enough space to adequately serve the area's homeless population.

"We've had to turn people away," she said. "I think that's a crime. (The new shelter) will enable us to continue doing what we're doing in a better environment."

A Path Home will also contribute to an interagency effort to combat homelessness in the region, said Lynn Love, housing assistance supervisor at the San Juan County Partnership.

By providing emergency shelter, A Path Home will be another tool to connect the homeless to the support services they need.

"I think for one thing, it's important that we treat the homeless like real human beings," said Hank Hughes, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness. "We're really excited about the housing aspect of this development because housing is how people get back on their feet. We're hoping there can be many more housing options in the future."