Albuquerque the Magazine Best of the City 2017: St. Martin's HopeWorks and Outreach Team Lead Abraham Placencio
Abraham Placencio spearheads one of the most active outreach initiatives in Albuquerque as the outreach caseworker of St. Martin’s Hopeworks intensive outreach program. Every day, Placencio and his team head across the city from the street corners to locations commonly labeled “not fit for human occupation” – the storm drains, sheltered overpasses and abandoned places of the city- to reach out to the homeless. This engagement takes several forms, from trying to gather supplies for their immediate needs to helping them get “on the grid” to begin getting identification and permanent address. And even though every person’s story is different, two things remain constant: the compassion and care Placencio and his crew show for everyone they reach out to and their dedication to “ending homelessness, one person at a time”.
“The first step to getting people into homes is outreach. If we can get out there, build rapport and show them that we respect and value someone, and eventually bring them into one of our other programs, we can make a difference for them,” Placencio says.
This sort of work isn’t new to Placencio, who first started assisting the homeless through his church before finding his vocation with St. Martin’s. “It may be hard to believe, but this is my dream job, “he says. “ I love it and I love my clients. When things are hard, sometimes all you have is hope, and that can be a fragile thing. I want to try and give everyone I meet and work with hope.”
Photo Credit: Don James