Veterans Integration Centers and DreamSpring Unite to Combat Veteran Homelessness

    April 1, 2024

    Veterans Integration Centers and DreamSpring Unite to Combat Veteran Homelessness

    ALBUQUERQUE, NM — As the Veterans Integration Centers (VIC) nears completion of Phase I of its new campus, hope is rising. The VIC’s first permanent and purpose-built home, a 20,000 square-foot transitional housing facility located southeast of Gibson and I-25, represents a major milestone in the organization’s nearly 20-year mission to combat veteran homelessness in New Mexico. 

    Veterans-Integration-Centers-DreamSpring-Unite-News-Blog--Image2-MAR-2024This ambitious project is the culmination of years of planning and a mix of funding from local, state, and federal agencies. With a 13% increase in homeless veterans in the greater Central New Mexico area since last year, the need for comprehensive support services has never been more critical. Still, the cranes would be sitting idle and the building would be an empty shell if not for a groundbreaking collaboration between two local nonprofits — the VIC and DreamSpring.

    Due to cumbersome anti-donation clause regulations, getting funds from their sources to pass-between agencies and finally into the VIC’s hands requires jumping through major hurdles and ample amounts of time. But New Mexico’s homeless veterans — including their families and service animals — can’t wait. 

    “It would be heartbreaking not to continue. And shutting down construction could cost half a million dollars — we want to be good stewards of the money we’ve been entrusted with,” says Brock Wolff, CEO of the Veterans Integration Centers. “Continuing to build is our No. 1 priority.”



    Left to right: DreamSpring team members Tamari Beard and Laura Marrich check in on the construction of the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers' new campus with VIC Board Chair Jerry Becker, CEO Brock Wolff, and COO Fermin Ortega.


    That’s why DreamSpring, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) founded and headquartered in Albuquerque, provided VIC with an innovative bridge loan to keep the project going at full throttle. The nonprofit partnership is a first and represents a new, collaborative approach to addressing our most pressing issues in resource-strapped New Mexico.

    Veterans-Integration-Centers-DreamSpring-Unite-News-Blog--Image3-MAR-2024“It's not a for-profit business that is creating this kind of systemic change or making sure this campus can be built and people can be hired and services can be provided — it’s two 501(c)(3)s,” says Lynn Trojahn, owner of Thrive Consulting and fundraising consultant for the VIC. “They are both nimble organizations and have such fantastic business practices that they can come together and launch this project and keep it on track. They know how to create partnerships.” 

    The state-of-the-art Phase I building will provide 42 rooms, nutritional assistance, and numerous support services, offering a safe and supportive environment for veterans and their families. Each room will feature private bedrooms and bathrooms. The three-acre campus will be fully secured and gated, with gardens, walking paths, and even a dog park.

    With the DreamSpring bridge loan in place, the VIC can begin planning and fundraising for Phase II of the project. The second 8,000 square-foot building will accommodate approximately 15 full-time VIC employees who will provide wrap-around services, including additional mental health and substance abuse counseling, as well as a library, gym, game room, and an ADA-compliant elevator.

    “We couldn't have opened this soon without DreamSpring's partnering with us,” says Brock Wolff. “To go from where we started to today is night and day — it shows how much we value our staff and our veterans.”