Gallup Battered Family Shelter Administration Building

The Shelter Action for Family Emergency Response fund (SAFER) will provide funding to the Gallup Battered Family Shelter (GBFS) towards renovating the old Administrative building and constructing a new shelter to support women and children fleeing domestic violence situations (exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic) in Northwest New Mexico. The SAFER Fund is a partnership between New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families and four local philanthropic organizations.

In early April 2021, Con Alma Health Foundation, New Mexico Foundation, Thornburg Foundation, and Santa Fe Community Foundation were contacted by the New Mexico Governor’s team and CYFD Cabinet Secretary Brian Blalock, to pool funding and help support the Gallup Battered Family Shelter (GBFS).

Since the 1980s there has been an increase in the county population, and violence is on a steady high-rate trend. McKinley County is rated second in domestic violence incidents for all counties in New Mexico. “We’ve seen an increased demand for safe shelter for women and families. It’s been a shadow pandemic behind COVID-19,” noted Emily Ellison, Executive Director of Gallup Battered Families Services. “Over the past year, we’ve been limited in the number of people we could safely shelter, but now we’re elated that our services will expand beyond what we could do before COVID-19.”

GBFS’ current shelter, a two-story building with five rooms for clients and two for office space, has been utilized for more than 30 years and is not ADA accessible. Prior to Covid, GBFS could shelter 24-28 per night as beds were one to two feet apart. Post-Covid, most rooms can only fit one bed as funders require beds to be 6 feet apart. Capacity is limited to five individuals or five family units (depending on size). All bathrooms and kitchens are communal use.

New Mexico Foundation recently awarded about $66,000 to GBFS to conduct architecture/design so renovations can begin when the county receives capital outlay funding.  GBFS’s goal is to first renovate the administrative building where they offer counseling to DV families, followed by the shelter where six families are housed at a time.  That renovation can be paid for out of capital outlay funding.

The longer-term need is to build a separate shelter to house 16 families.   Current estimates indicate the building could cost between $3 and $5 million. The shelter will need a donation of land from the city of Gallup or McKinley County.

Thank you for supporting access to safe and dignified shelter for those fleeing domestic, family, and sexual violence in McKinley County, New Mexico.