Collins & Collins, P.C.

Reaching out to Homeless Veterans in Albuquerque

The Albuquerque Based Law Firm of Collins & Collins, P.C. will be reaching out to Homeless Veterans through Noon Day Ministries in Downtown Albuquerque.


Albuquerque, NM -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/26/2013 -- The homeless problem is pretty daunting nationally. It is equally so locally in Albuquerque. The problem is so large that it sometime seems there is no good place to start to try to help with the problem. This was the challenge that we were facing at Collins & Collins, P.C. when trying to figure out if and where we could make a difference

Getting started can be somewhat overwhelming. Like many, we asked ourselves where we should start with such a grave problem. Should we start with homeless children, homeless families, victims of domestic violence, those suffering from mental illness, those with substance abuse issues, those who suffered loss of employment and are trying to get back into the work force, or any other group within the homeless population? We chose veterans.

So how did we go about choosing veterans? The choice was actually made for us. Our firm has had the privilege of serving a number of veterans with a variety of legal matters. Several of the veterans had criminal issues. This was the starting point where we became aware of some of the unique issues faced by veterans.

We began to learn of the many issues facing veterans primarily from the criminal justice perspective. As it happens, these same issues face many veterans outside the criminal justice system and seem to be particularly problematic for homeless veterans.

Some of the veterans we served had substance or alcohol abuse issues. Others came with PTSD and Traumatic Brain injuries. They most often came to us with charges for DWI or domestic violence. It became clear pretty quickly that these clients were not like our other clients. They were dealing with issues that were far different and far more challenging than most of our criminal defense clients.

It was fortunate for our veteran clients, and for us in trying to help them the best we could, that there was a vast array of caring and passionate supporters for these veterans. We were lucky enough to make contact with these folks who often would show up for the veterans’ hearings, provide documentation for the judge where necessary and even give statement to the judge in support of their veterans. Through these clients and these support networks, we learned more and more about the issues facing veterans. We also learned that there was something a law firm could actually do to help.

Through these encounters, we slowly began to learn about Veteran benefits. We learned that many of these same clients are entitled to disability benefits and/or pension benefits related to those same issues that brought them to the criminal justice system. We learned also that those same issues had led many of these heroes to become homeless.

Putting two and two together, we decided to go into the homeless community to reach out to those veterans who were entitled to but not yet receiving financial benefits to which they were entitled. We were lucky enough to make contact with Noon Day Ministries who has generously allowed us to meet with homeless veterans at their Albuquerque facility located at 101 Broadway NE (Central and Broadway).

Noon Day Ministries is remarkable. With only a skeletal staff and the amazing support of many volunteers, they served over 100,000 meals in 2012. Through Noon Day, we hope to reach as many homeless veterans as we can. Most of all, we hope that we can help at least a few get off the streets and back into a home. These heroes deserve at least this and we hope that we can in small measure get them there.

To that end, we will be providing regular updates of our meeting schedule which will be determined based upon need and response from the homeless veteran community.