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Western Sky Community Care to Enable Connectivity and Distant Learning for Over 8,000 New Mexico Schoolchildren Facing Unstable Housing During COVID-19 Crisis

Date: 04/30/20

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people across New Mexico are facing challenges that extend beyond medical care and include basic daily needs such as food, internet connectivity, tablet computers and other essential supplies.

Western Sky Community Care (WSCC) announced today a powerful philanthropic partnership with New Mexico Appleseed by donating $250,000 to support children whose families have become homeless due to the COVID-19 shutdowns. The goal of the partnership is to both prevent homeless children from backsliding academically and emotionally during the New Mexico stay at home order and contribute to growing evidence that investments in stabilizing at-risk students saves children’s futures.

Over 8,000 New Mexico school children have been identified as homeless or housing insecure. This means they may be bouncing from house to house, living doubled up or in housing without utilities, staying in a shelter, or even sleeping on the street or in a car. Children who are “housing unstable” are already more likely to be abused and neglected, have mental health or substance abuse problems, and perform poorly in school.

“COVID-19 has upended so many children’s lives,” said Jennifer Ramo, Executive Director of New Mexico Appleseed. “Homeless children were barely hanging on already and are now at risk of becoming dangerously behind and even more unstable. Anything we can do to keep them afloat during this period is critical to their long-term success.”

Through this partnership, these vulnerable schoolchildren will be receive iPads, mobile hot spot devices and crucial wrap around services. Students will be able to complete academic assignments, connect with case managers and school homeless liaisons, and access virtual health services.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching and have extended beyond medical care to affect people’s access to food, employment, connectivity, and more,” said Tony Hernandez, President and CEO of WSCC. “These social determinants of health have a significant impact on people’s overall wellbeing, especially among vulnerable populations. Western Sky wants to help ensure we’re supporting the additional needs of communities during this challenging time.”

Hernandez added, “Appleseed’s proven track record of creating systems change means that our dollars will not just help these families, but will help make dramatic changes for all similarly situated families. Helping children and families live their best and healthiest lives is what we do every day, and this investment is a natural extension of that.”

"In this time of overwhelming challenge and hardship, I'm grateful for Western Sky Community Care and New Mexico Appleseed's partnership to help New Mexico's kids get the education they need and to help New Mexico families keep a roof over their heads," said Representative Nathan Small, whose district will benefit from this work.

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About Western Sky

Established to deliver quality healthcare in the state of New Mexico through local, regional and community-based resources, Western Sky Community Care is a Managed Care Organization and subsidiary of Centene Corporation. Western Sky Community Care exists to improve the health of its beneficiaries through focused, compassionate and coordinated care. Their approach is based on the core belief that quality healthcare is best delivered locally. For more information, visit

About New Mexico Appleseed

New Mexico Appleseed is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on improving the lives of the poor and underserved through systemic change. Our results are high impact and lasting.