Quick Facts: New Mexico

  • Law & Policy: 63% of metrics met
    • Laws authorizing comprehensive supports and services for youth experiencing homelessness: 50% of metrics met 

    • Preventing youth experiencing homelessness from coming into contact with the criminal and juvenile justice systems: 52% of metrics met 

    • Providing unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness the opportunity to seek legal independence and live independently: 38% of metrics met

    • Addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness: 100% of metrics met 

    • Allowing youth experiencing homelessness to access critical supports and services: 83% of metrics met 

  • Systems: 67% of metrics met 
  • Environment: 71% of metrics met

State Score 2020: 65

State Ranking 2020: 9

New Mexico Highlights

Some areas where New Mexico has moved the needle relative to other states include addressing the educational needs of youth experiencing homelessness and allowing them to access critical supports and services.


Law & Policy

  • The state doesn’t consider running away a criminal offense.

  • The state explicitly allows partial and alternative school credit accrual for homeless youth through regulations.

  • The state explicitly allows unaccompanied youth under 18 to apply for health insurance coverage (without parental consent).



  • There is a current state plan to end homelessness.

    • The state plan has a "youth" component.



  • The state maintains a community advisory board for youth that informs youth homelessness policy.

  • The state establishes protected class status based on one's sexual orientation and gender identity in child welfare and the juvenile legal system.

Recommendations for Improvement

There is room for improvement throughout the metrics for the Land of Enchantment, with emphasis on the Law & Policy category. Enacting and funding a state RHYA law, implementing a coordinated state government response to youth homelessness, and protecting the rights and interests of youth experiencing homelessness, including LGBTQ youth, should be prioritized.


Law & Policy

  • The state should pass a law that funds and provides oversight and regulation to youth homelessness services.

  • The state should allow shelters to take in youth experiencing homelessness with a delay or waiver of notification requirements.

  • The state should give minors contract rights OR allow them to enter into binding contracts for certain purposes (e.g. necessities).



  • The state should create an entity – such as an Office of Youth Homelessness Services – that focuses solely on designing, implementing, and evaluating youth homelessness programs.



  • The state should require training about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, healthy sexual development or issues specific to LGBTQ+ youth for staff working in RHY Systems.

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