Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness as the weeks drag on. KUNM News Director Hannah Colton goes further into the story of Albuquerque officials breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it in this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through the city and spending time on the streets.

We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how COVID-19 has changed things for them philosophically and practically.

So far, no one in the state is reporting any positive tests for people experiencing homelessness, according to the guests we talked to today.

In this episode, we hear from: Deputy Chief Harold Medina from the Albuquerque Police Department; Jenny Metzler, executive director of Health Care for the Homeless; Chief Patrick Gallagher from the Las Cruces Police Department; and Hank Hughes from the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.

No comment note: We appreciate all of our guest's time, and that a number of very busy people right now have carved out 15 minutes to speak with Your NM Guv these last weeks—hospital leaders, doctors, congresspeople, cabinet secretaries … We reached out to several police departments around the state this week for interviews. The State Police Department declined, and so did Rio Rancho Police Department. Santa Fe's police chief said he couldn't do it.

And a news update: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Wednesday that she's going to extend the shutdown order until May 15, according to KOB. She also rolled out a plan to reopen the economy in phases after that. The governor says New Mexico has flattened the curve but has to maintain social distancing to stay on track. There are 2,210 confirmed cases here as of now, and there have been 71 deaths.

The Navajo Nation will extend closures until May 17. McKinley County, which overlaps with the Navajo Nation, has become a major hot spot for cases. Data is showing that  41.5% of the people in the state who are confirmed to be infected are Native American. The Navajo Nation also just announced it's suing the federal government for its share of the billions allotted to tribes in the federal relief package, saying that money shouldn't go to corporations.

New Mexico's senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich are urging ICE to release 2,400 detained children during the pandemic.

People in New Mexico who are self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers can start applying for unemployment benefits starting Sunday, April 26, KRQE reports. And if you already filed a claim, you don't need to do it again.

And the Bernalillo County Clerk is issuing marriage licenses again, starting Monday by appointment only.

We're keeping a complete list of the resources and volunteer opportunities that we find for each episode at bit.ly/YNMGhub. And here's what we got from today.


  • dir="ltr">
        Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless has coronavirus resources. For information on how you can volunteer or donate head to
  • dir="ltr">
        Here’s the
  • dir="ltr">
         , which works statewide. And here’s its
  • dir="ltr">

How are things going for you? We want to know. Share your quarantine stories by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.


Editor's Note: Hannah Colton's story in this episode has been corrected to reflect that the motel rooms the City of Albuquerque has made available for people with coronavirus symptoms are not empty as of April 23, 2020.

Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.