The Alliance of Border Collaboratives (ABC) was established in 2009 as a community-based organization and autonomous fiscal agent. Since its inception, ABC has been dedicated to advocating for vulnerable and marginalized populations, including the homeless, people of color, LGBTQ+, sex workers, low-income individuals, and those grappling with substance use and/or mental health disorders. ABC’s primary objective is to ensure that these populations can fully access prevention, intervention, and treatment services, exercising their fundamental rights.
ABC has been at the forefront of implementing innovative and impactful public health programs that cater to some of the most vulnerable communities. Notably, the launch of the free community-based naloxone dispensary has proven instrumental in saving countless lives from opioid and fentanyl-related overdoses. Additionally, ABC manages the HOME Program, funded by the Texas Department of Community Affairs, which has rehabilitated or reconstructed over 80 homes for low-income families. Furthermore, we oversee the Amy Young Barrier Removal Program for persons with disabilities, having successfully modified more than 269 homes for qualified low-income households, including veterans.
In the realm of public health, ABC competed a diabetes education and management program, which employs a novel approach to managing diabetes with funding from the NIH. ABC spearheads a regional Harm Reduction project, funded by ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist in HIV. Under this initiative, ABC provides crucial support and services to those affected by HIV, focusing on harm reduction practices.
ABC is actively engaged in applied research, adapting, and developing evidence-based programs that incorporate proven practices and promote active participation and leadership in research-based projects. For instance, Project Encuentro that concluded in 2021 after 5 years, conducted formative research to better understand the context of HIV risk among people who use drugs (PWUD) in the border region. This research informed the development of harm reduction services currently operating at ABC.
Aside from public health endeavors, ABC offers essential social services and support programs. These include emergency assistance and homelessness prevention for individuals and families experiencing temporary financial crises. ABC Social Services Program assists clients with Utility Bill Assistance, Rental/Mortgage Assistance, and Emergency Financial Relief.
Furthermore, ABC takes on the critical responsibility of administering a mental health outreach, education, referral, psychotherapy, and family therapy program for low-income underserved individuals, including those with substance use disorders. ABC’s capacity extends to handling large and intricate federally, state, regional, bi-national, local, and privately funded programs, both programmatically and fiscally. The organization excels in building and maintaining sustainable relationships, coalitions, and collaboratives with various entities and individuals engaged in healthcare, mental health, substance abuse, LGBTQ+, housing, homeless, colonia issues, immigration, border concerns, elderly care, and veterans’ affairs.
Jose Alvarez, LMSW, CMFSW, CCM