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Three dynamic community leaders will offer key insights on poverty, homelessness, and opportunities for change in Albuquerque at Saffron Strand’s Wine Tasting & Silent Auction, October 27 (5:30-8:30 p.m.) at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The event will raise funds to open the Saffron Strand Training Center, which will help the city’s homeless and poorest residents gain skills needed in the local economy so they can get back to work in jobs that build careers.

Speakers will focus on key issues related to homelessness and poverty in the upcoming electoral ballot initiatives:

Debbie O’Malley, Bernalillo County Commissioner

For 30 years, Debbie O’Malley, has fought for good jobs, mental health and substance abuse services, and affordable housing for Albuquerque’s families and workers. As Bernalillo County Commissioner for District 1, she sponsored the County’s Tiny Home Village Project, noting that homelessness was a growing problem in Bernalillo County: “The Tiny Home Village will provide a safe and secure housing opportunity for those individuals in need. This project will also help to stabilize and positively impact the neighborhood in which it resides.” Now serving her second term, she has continued to push for more safe and secure housing for the chronically homeless. She has pointed out that when those who receive housing also have the skills for rewarding employment, then their exit from homelessness is much more likely to succeed.

Ilse Biel, Activist and Advocate for the Homeless

In 2014 and 2015, Ilse Biel worked alongside the residents of Tent City who refused to disperse from the unsanctioned encampment, which managed to sustain itself for almost a year in various locations and under abject conditions with few resources. However, the camp and the intense media and neighborhood attention it elicited redirected the discourse on Albuquerque people experiencing housing instability. Ilse has noted that the Housing First approach “skews expectations and aspirations towards a particular mode of dwelling while excluding—and, in fact, demeaning and/or criminalizing—more realistically achievable forms of homes.” A member of the Tiny Home Village Project, Ilse has characterized Housing First as “a call to Stability First” and asked, “What could such a reinterpretation of the model look like and mean within the Albuquerque landscape?”

Rev. Amani Malaika, Albuquerque Center of Spiritual Living

Rev. Amani Malaika’s fascination with spiritual traditions, the soul, and life’s mysteries has been life long. In her own seeking and studies she has become a true believer in the divine nature of all human beings. As the Senior Minister of Albuquerque Center for Spiritual Living she is able to serve any who seek to know the magnificence that they are. She invites each person to join in transforming their individual life and the world around us: “”We are a spiritual community committed to spiritual inspiration, education, and practices that lead to transformed lives and communities…. We hold a vision for a world that works for everyone.”

In addition to the remarks of these community leaders, the event features delicious wine and:

  • Scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and tapas from Saffron Strand’s “pop-up kitchen,” which was one of the secrets to our decade of success getting the homeless off the streets and back to work in the Bay Area of California
  • Albuquerque’s Le Chat Lunatique, bringing a unique Burque jazz style that crosses many genres, blending Western swing, classical, reggae, doo-wop, and more

The venue for this unique fundraiser is the Grand Hall at National Hispanic Cultural Center, which is helping to sponsor this enjoyable and inspiring fundraising event.

Tickets ($75 per person) are available by clicking the button below:

For more information, please see the event page or contact Saffron Strand, Inc. at info@saffronstrand.org or tel. (510) 691-7026.

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