Camp Hope goes to Las Cruces City Council, Monday March 19th

Mayor of Las Cruces,NM Ken Miyagishima

Mayor Miyagishima-" In a nutshell, the camp can stay......"

Robert Garza explains the logistics of working through the zoning issues of finding a way to legitimize the camp, cooperating with Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, to continue and pave a way to create a better shelter situation for the 50 homeless residents, plus almost 20 waiting list folks, that need this place to live transitionally.

Nicole Martinez waiting to speak before City Council.

Nicole Martinez- Executive Director of Mesilla valley Community of Hope, Speaks to city Council about the value of Camp Hope to the Las Cruces community.

Mrs. Ashe : President of the League of Women Voters - believes,"Camp Hope is a respected alternative supported by members of the community."

"Sasha"- From Occupy Las Cruces, and beyond, speaks his peace about what Camp Hope gives to Las Cruces.

Sue Campbell, Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Case Manager, and companions listen to all the positive feedback and supportive comments by community members and Camp Hope residents.

Here are a few of the comments that the public at large in Las Cruces had to say at the city council meeting on Monday the 19th of March.

Albert: lived through the riots in Berkley – said Camp Hope “is not only important for the community but for the entire country…” “I hope you don’t let this light go out….”

Councilman Small: “I’m excited, as we all are on the council.”

Councilwoman Thomas: “I was so impressed when I went to the Camp….” “a wonderful example of a community coming together….”

Councilwoman Pedroza: ” The example we have seen is impressive.” ” Here we have an example of a community that cares.”

Councilman Smith: “For me, this project says  something very special about Las Cruces.”

Councilman Sorg: visited Camp Hope on Feb. 24th with Councilman Silvas “I was so impressed when they shared their experiences living there at Camp Hope……..”
“Jim and Matt, you are doing a fantastic job..”
” This is very overwhelming I’m getting a little touched by it too…”

Councilman Silva: “….we are talking about residents of our community that are more than just city dwellers or inhabitants…… it’s nice to see Las Cruces at the forefront in working with the homeless community….”

So, this is the foundation we are going to continue to build upon, taking it day by day, until a more permanent form of shelter can be created for all of the homeless here in Las Cruces, who have always been here , and who are part of our country’s responsibility in the future as socioeconomic climate changes and humanitarianism meet on the field, to rise and face the challenges of nurturing and caring for each other, for better or worse.

What do we expect the next phase to be, MASH style tents (courtesy of Army volunteers), shade structures (courtesy of an Eagle Scout), sanitary facilities (hand-washing stations), and many more new friendships and volunteers that make a difference introducing themselves to the homeless and making a difference. Like today, a gentleman and his wife dropped off some clothes and is going to bring 6-7 bikes for our residents to use later this week (hey, we need a bike rack!) and who also was impressed and moved to do more, like bringing construction materials for us to build shade structures and such. The possibility for the homeless here to participate in creating a shelter that is not just for them, but for all the folks transitioning after they move on, is as exciting and inspiring as it gets.

What’s on the plate in  terms of inter-agency cooperation? Tony Alvidrez who works with jail diversion is going to be holding a 2 day training in April for our Camp Security staff, including dealing with mental health challenges, which will give our staff more confidence and validity. He has a couple clients that reside here and finds it beneficial that they are here, safe, looked after, and accessible to him. Esperanza Mental Health Services will start a monthly outreach education class on the health risks of chronic Meth use, as well as informing folks about the new street drugs Spice(synthetic marijuana) and Bubbles(salt) that are dangerous and surrounded by controversy and misinformation. FYI will be starting a monthly STD education class and free HIV testing, as well as a Needle Exchange- Harm Reduction Program that will be on the MVCH Campus starting in April.

All in all, we are proud to have served motivating and connecting Las Cruces to this amazing project growing out of homeless’ ambition to embrace that change is part of all our lives and to try to make a better place for all of us, one day at a time. We also look forward to introducing Camp Hope and all of its work to those outside Las Cruces and New Mexico to inspire and give others “HOPE” as well!

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