A chance encounter with a person experiencing homelessness in a public restroom, led Duffy Lawson to ask the question, “How can we help?”   Duffy’s husband, the Rev. Paul Lawson, The Rev. Kelly Crawford, and a group of Albuquerque residents committed to making a difference founded St. Martin’s Hospitality Center in 1985.   It was The Rev. Kelly Crawford who hunted down grants and worked with the city to do more for the people experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque.

After outgrowing their first location, St. Martin’s Hospitality Center moved to it’s current location at 1201 3rd St. NW.  The Rev. Susan Sager supervised the move and became the Executive Director.  She kept St. Martin’s alive in difficult times, and, along the way, served as Chaplain to those experiencing homelessness—leading worship on Sundays, visiting the sick, burying the dead and befriending all.

Along the way, the Rev. Paul Lawson, the Rev. Susan Sager and many other local clergy from a variety of faith communities formed a coalition of congregations and individuals that contributed to offering hospitality to those who were experiencing homelessness.

Over time, St. Martin’s Hope Works has evolved into a non-sectarian 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which has become Albuquerque’s leading day shelter, employment center, mental health facility and housing program.  To this day, St. Martin’s Hope Works lives out its commitment to offer hospitality to strangers.

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