Santa Fe opens new, safe outdoor spaces for homeless population

SANTA FE, NM (KRQE) – With more than 350 people living on the streets of Santa Fe, the city now has its first temporary city-sanctioned encampment.

“It’s another tool, another step, and it’s a good day for Santa Fe,” said Santa Fe Mayor Alan Weber.

It’s another step toward addressing homelessness in New Mexico’s capital city. In just three months, the Christ Lutheran Church parking lot went from an empty lot to a new first-of-its-kind “pallet village.”

“They are small modular homes. Again, they’re heated. There are one or two bunks, and they will have heat, air conditioning, a lock and an address,” said pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Santa Fe Joanne Harr.

The pilot program is starting with 10 shelters in church parking lots for at least the next year. Life Link, a group that serves the local homeless population, is operating the shelter. They will provide case management, employment services and other community resources for residents. The first group of residents will move in next month with 24/7 security.

“We’re hoping that if we do our part, we can hopefully transition them into a supportive housing solution,” LifeLink Outreach Services Program Manager Janelle Bohannon said.

The million-dollar project to purchase 25 pallet shelters was approved last April. Funding for the pallets comes from federal and local money.

The city hopes this is just the beginning as it is still looking for other groups willing to use their property for the remaining pallets.

“We’re going to show that it’s possible. We’re going to find other parts of our community that want to have a safe outdoor space,” said Mayor Weber.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *