A chance encounter with a person experiencing homelessness in a public restroom led Duffy Lawson to ask the question, “How can we help?”  Duffy’s husband, the Rev. Paul Lawson, The Rev. Kelly Crawford, and a group of Albuquerque residents committed to making a difference founded the organization as  St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in 1985.  The Rev. Kelly Crawford  hunted down grants and worked with the city to do more for  people experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque.

After outgrowing their first location, St. Martin’s Hospitality Center moved to its current location at 1201 3rd St. NW. The Rev. Susan Sager supervised the move and became Executive Director.  She kept the organization thriving in difficult times and served as Chaplain to those experiencing homelessness—leading worship on Sundays, visiting the sick, burying the dead, and befriending all.

Along the way, the Rev. Paul Lawson, the Rev. Susan Sager and many other local clergy from a variety of faith communities formed a coalition of congregations and individuals who offered hospitality to those experiencing homelessness.

Over time, HopeWorks has evolved, into a non-sectarian 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization we are Albuquerque’s leading day shelter, employment center, mental health facility, and housing program.  As organization grew so did the number of services we offer and the community of people we serve.  Our new name “HopeWorks” reflects our commitment to inclusivity and is indicative of the many programs, acts, and deeds our agency preforms on a daily basis.  We offer not just hope, but the works that inevitably lead to its manifestation and positive results for both individuals and our community.  To this day, HopeWorks lives out its promise to offer hospitality to strangers.