The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Children's home expansion complete


August 14, 2018

Jamie Cushman

Construction on the $6 million Hope Haven expansion of the New Mexico Christian Children's Home wrapped up last month.

PORTALES — Last month, the New Mexico Christian Children's Home in Portales completed construction on a $6 million project called Hope Haven, located at 19th Street and South Avenue B.

It includes 15 duplexes for members of its single-parent homes program.

The new homes were funded by private donations and were built as money came in to avoid taking on any debt, officials said.

Expected to take five to 10 years, construction wrapped up in July after just over three years.

"The donations just came in at a much quicker pace than we had ever imagined and so we have every single building up with no debt at all, so it was quite an incredible feat I would say," said Bill Marshall, director of the single-parent families program

"We're just shaking our head. We just can't keep up with what God wants to do," said Allen Mann, director of public relations.

Mann said the New Mexico Christian Children's Home, which opened in 1954, has been providing services to single-parent families since 1983, but the addition of Hope Haven greatly expanded the children's home single-family housing units from 11 to 41, with seven 3-bedroom and eight 2-bedroom duplexes at Hope Haven.

The children's home also has several single-parent apartments on its main campus and six located just a couple of blocks from Hope Haven.

Marshall said the majority of parents who take part in the program are either already enrolled in a higher education program or are interested in going to college.

He said the single-parent homes program, which includes about 110 children and parents, is goal-oriented with the purpose of providing assistance to parents while they ultimately work toward supporting themselves and their children following completion of the two- to four-year program.

As Mann put it, "We're not trying to create a welfare state here and we call it a hand up not a hand out," he said. "Because I was raised in a single-parent home, I know how important it is for mom to have an opportunity."

Mann said the parents who participate in the program must also work on parenting skills and personal growth, some of which takes place at the Southside Church of Christ, where each member of the program attends church services.

"That kind of serves as the spiritual component to the program, along with the fact that we do have at the home now ... a full-time minister who works for the home," Marshall said.

Mann said the only work still to be down at Hope Haven is some paving and the installation of a new playground to be located behind the church, with the hope of having the playground ready for the children home's biannual open house in November.

With a washer, dryer, built-in storage areas in the closets and kitchen appliances, Mann said the homes come equipped with just about everything a family would need, except furniture. In addition to lodging and utilities, Marshall said the children's home also provides assistance with groceries, clothes, scholarship opportunities and even birthday and Christmas gifts.

"We wanted to build something that would last, something that was nice, that gave them a vision for the future that if they got a good education or as they worked to improve their life situation they could live in a place like this," Mann said.


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