About Us

About Our Casa

Casa Milagro is a safe, trusting, and nurturing community for adults recovering from homelessness and debilitating mental illness. Each of our twelve residents has a private room in a large home with ample common spaces: living room, dining room, art room, “quiet” room, porches, and yards. The house is designed to balance privacy and community, giving and receiving companionship and support.  

Our staff coordinates and supports residents in accessing medical and therapeutic support in the wider community. We simultaneously cultivate a therapeutic environment in-house to support recovery at home. We listen and trust individuals in what they want and need to thrive, encouraging our residents as they establish, and meet, their own goals. Most importantly, we walk with them as they reach for those goals.  

We are a 501c3, guided by HUD guidelines for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). Residents can stay as long as they need, as long as they respect the program’s guidelines. We are proud that our housing is affordable and accessible to low income people. Casa Milagro is a member of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness (NMCEH) and shares in that coalition’s mission to end homelessness in New Mexico, by supporting our neighbors in need.

 

Our History

With equal parts compassion, vision, and gritty determination,  Meryl Lieberman and Carol Luna Anderson founded Casa Milagro in 1995. Their goal: to provide a safe, supportive, reliable home to people experiencing a spectrum of serious mental illnesses.

Meryl says, “Casa Milagro was founded on an assumption that belonging and being a part of the bigger whole is the real healing force...We were very intentional in that regard.” Furthermore, Meryl adds that the presence of animal companions has been important since the beginning. People are invited to bring animals into their home, which generates joy and healing. ​

 

Extending beyond the home into the neighborhood, in the early days,  Casa Milagro hosted a barbeque to increase positive visibility and to build relationships with neighbors. Their support sometimes manifested in offering small jobs to residents--helping with horses or babysitting, for example.

Then tragedy came. Casa Milagro hadn’t been up and running long when a fire ravaged the home, rendering it unlivable. Following the fire, Carol Luna Anderson urged HUD to help bring Casa Milagro back to life. Through HUD’s assistance, the “House of Miracles” came into being. Through the vicissitudes of life, people have come and gone, offering and receiving their own gifts. As they’ve continued on their paths, Casa Milagro has maintained a commitment to healing through the discovery of greater belonging.

 

Our Board

  • Liz Cervio

  • Hilary Stim 

  • Adam Leonard

  • Patricia Woodworth

  • Vaune Hegmann 

 

Our Leadership

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Desirée Bernard

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Executive Director

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Jerry Bartley

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Program Manager

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Akila Pervis

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Care Coordinator

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Shannon Milligan

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Care Coordinator

Administrative 
Leadership

Desirée Bernard, MDiv
Executive Director

Long passionate about mental health and healing through the lens of understanding social systems, I am grateful to have met Meryl Lieberman who brought me into contact with Casa Milagro in 2017.

My B.A. is in Psychology and Religion and my graduate studies took place at Harvard Divinity School where I earned a M.Div. while pursuing work in mental health recovery communities, chaplaincy, faith-based outreach to people in poverty, and trauma-informed theology. I believe in the healing power of community and am committed to fostering interpersonal connection in ways that bring out the innate wholeness and knowing which resides within each individual.

Jerry Bartley
Program Manager

An indirect Texas transplant living in New Mexico for seven years, I received my higher education from the US Army, and I studied at Naropa University in Boulder, CO in the Religious Studies and Writing and Literature programs. Before arriving at Casa Milagro, I was a Program Coordinator at Benchmark Human Services, working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I love to see the growth each person at Casa Milagro undergoes, mostly through the work and love each one shares.

Care
Coordinators

Akila Pervis, Care Coordinator

Originally from Phoenix,  Arizona, I relocated to the beautiful city of Santa Fe 17 years ago, working as an Operations Manager and an instructor for several group fitness classes. As a Certified Personal Trainer, professional bodybuilder, and former fitness club owner, health and wellbeing has always been a very important part of my life. I finally found my true passion working at The Life Link as a Case Manager, serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, substance use disorders, and other co-occurring challenges. I feel wholeheartedly that it is an honor to work at Casa Milagro, supporting and advocating for the amazing individuals in our program, as they find greater wellbeing in their lives. 

Shannon Milligan, Care Coordinator

Working at Casa Milagro is very rewarding for many reasons, one being that it creates a culture of healing and family. I feel very privileged to work in a place where the staff is trauma-informed and uses strengths-based approaches.​ I earned a degree in Human Services from Alfred State University in Alfred, NY. I served 7 years working for the Sobering Center at Christus St. Vincent's, helping individuals experiencing homelessness, mental illness, and addiction crises. Throughout all of this, my desire to help make a positive difference in people's lives that has been solidified.

 
Casa In the News

The Power of Housing

Aug. 27, 2019

(Santa Fe Reporter & Katherine Lewin)

3 Questions | Meryl Lieberman

Sept. 3, 2019

(Santa Fe Reporter & Katherine Lewin)

Casa Builds Community

May 18, 2019

(MK Mendoza & Wake Up Call!)

Forging A Home

Nov. 29, 2018

(The New Mexican & Olivia Harlow)

A True Christmas Miracle

Dec. 21, 2018

(MK Mendoza & Wake Up Call!)