“I was actually getting ready to go home,” he said. But a security guard at the Alvarado transit center informed him of a more urgent matter.
“I drew my attention to the fact that there was a man and his four-year-old son who were practically stranded at the transit center,” Moenaert said. The security guard told him that the father asked him to contact the police.
“He had nowhere to go, he didn’t know what to do,” Moenaert said. “He was going to sleep on the street with his son if there was no one there who could help him.”
Moenaert tried to find shelter or accommodation for him for the night, but could not. So he got his own pocket and bought them a few night’s stay in a downtown motel.
“When you see this father and his son sitting there so scared and with no other option, it was the right thing to do,” the officer said.
And that was the start of what was to be months of generosity and help. Agencies like Health Care for the Homeless and the city’s Project ECHO program, along with other charities, First Presbyterian Church, and downtown businesses like Silver Street Market have helped father and son get a voucher. housing, food and cash donations. CABQ’s Family and Community Services also enrolled the four-year-old boy in preschool. The couple moved into a new apartment in September.
“I think what I enjoyed the most was just seeing the relief on the father’s face and in his eyes that there was stability – long term stability for him and his son,” Moenaert said.
They also got furniture and household donations, everything the father and son needed to enjoy their new home from day one.
“I had a hard time imagining what he was going through,” said Moenaert, who is also a father. “I continued to empathize throughout the process and it was a really wonderful experience to be a part.”