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Jorge is the support service case manager for the Desert Hope apartments, and he puts his 16 years of experience helping others to work with the residents. He describes much of his role as administering “mental health first aid,” helping people to think about their choices and working through crises to calmness.
Many of the residents work intermittently, either through a temporary job placement or day labor with the (City of Las Cruces) Mano y Mano program, and this income allows them to pay their rent, utilities and other expenses.
While a few of the residents have disabilities and are unable to work, most want to earn an income, and one of the community success stories is a resident who has been referred to a state Department of Vocational Rehabilitation program and is looking to go to school for physical therapy.
Jorge organizes monthly community gatherings where residents are informed of upcoming events and announcements and share food and conversation. They are encouraged to discuss events and issues in the community in a respectful manner. Soon he will welcome new residents to vacant apartments, as several vacancies were created when residents rebuilt relationships with family members.
Editor’s note: Desert Hope Apartments on Pecos Street in Las Cruces opened in 2021. It provides efficiency apartments to previously homeless residents through a partnership of Mesilla Valley Community of Hope, Mesilla Valley Public Housing Authority, the City of Las Cruces and the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, with additional funding from New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) is continuing toward its 2022 Tents to Rents fundraising goal of $100,000 or more. This year’s campaign began Aug. 15 and continues through Sept. 23. Campaign participants raise funds for Tents to Rents by soliciting donations from family, friends, co-workers, churches and other events and activities. Sponsors and donors are also welcome.
Tents to Rents began in 2016, raising $13,000. In 2021, it raised almost $80,000. In its first six years, Tents to Rents has raised more than $200,000.
There are currently 45 residents of MVCH’s Camp Hope tent city. It costs about $7,800 to move a person who is struggling with homelessness into his or her own apartment.
To sign up as a 2022 Tents to Rents sponsor or to donate, contact MVCH Executive Director Nicole Martinez at 575-523-2219, extension 114, and email@example.com.