Our Work

Our Challenge

New Mexico is a land rich in culture, diversity, and natural beauty.  Yet, our state is also one of the poorest in the country, with over 20% of our population—and almost one-third of our children—living in poverty. In fact, New Mexico consistently has the first- or second-highest child poverty rate in the nation. The prevalence of poverty leads to a host of other problems, including hunger, illness, unequal access to education, insufficient access to water and sanitation, and even homelessness.

Our Issue Areas

The Center uses education, advocacy, and litigation to address these key issues that most affect those living in poverty.

Public Benefits

We work to protect and improve access to the main public benefits programs, which form a critical safety net that helps families put food on their tables, keep a roof over their heads, and meet basic necessities. Moreover, the public benefits programs have proven to be the best resource to help families escape poverty in the long term.


We aim to improve health outcomes for all low-income New Mexicans by protecting and expanding access to Medicaid, fighting for affordable healthcare options, and addressing the coverage gaps for individuals not served by healthcare reform—especially those experiencing the greatest barriers to health coverage, such as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, people residing in rural areas, and Native Americans.

Workers’ Rights

We fight to improve pay and working conditions for low-wage earners in New Mexico, with a special focus on agricultural laborers. We also advocate to increase the minimum wage and ensure a fair workweek for all New Mexicans.


We promote access to a quality education for all New Mexican children by advocating to increase the funding and resources available to our public schools, and promoting evidence-based practices that will correlate to educational success for at-risk students.

Fair Lending

We support access to fair loans under reasonable terms in order to end predatory lending practices that trap people in cycles of debt and poverty and stifle New Mexico’s economy.

Civil Legal Services

We work to increase the number of low-income New Mexicans who receive civil legal assistance, with special emphasis on people of color. Civil legal aid helps ensure fairness for all in the justice system, regardless of how much money an individual has.

Special Topics

The Center also explores other issues that affect the poor and underserved, such as racial justice, predatory lending, tax policy, and others.