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Lend a helping hand

Mesilla Valley Community of Hope seeks support for apartment program


LAS CRUCES - Amid its annual campaign to move members of the local homeless community into their own homes, you might say Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) is pitching tents – and hoping eventually to pitch them (out) for good.

MVCH is seeking donations of any amount from individuals, businesses and organizations for its third annual Tents to Rents fundraiser to move homeless residents of its Camp Hope Tent City into their own apartments. Sponsors are also welcome.

MVCH Executive Director Nicole Martinez said the nonprofit currently serves more clients than usual and needs strong community support to make the 2019 Tents to Rents campaign successful. Tents to Rents raised $13,000 in its first year, $26,000 in its second year and $52,000 last year, and Martinez hopes that growth trend continues.

Camp Hope currently has 31 residents, she said, including one military veteran. There is one additional homeless veteran who is not a Camp Hope resident for whom MVCH is also seeking a home, Martinez said, adding that veterans always have the highest priority for any available housing.

In August 2019 alone, MVCH moved 23 adults and 12 children who had been homeless and living at Camp Hope or elsewhere into apartments, she said. MVCH found homes for 174 people in 2018, she said, and provided a broad range of services to a about 3,000 clients.

The numbers change every year, but total served has increased by nearly 350 people, she said, a substantially bigger jump than usual, perhaps due in part to the success of the Mano y Mano day labor program, which gives part-time employment to MVCH clients with the City of Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Department. It’s brought a lot of new people to MVCH who want to work but don’t identify themselves as homeless, Martinez said, such as an individual who is camping out in someone’s back yard.

All told, MVCH has moved nearly 500 people “off the streets and into their own apartments,” Martinez said. if the community wants to see that continue, she said, she hopes they will donate to the Tents to Rents campaign, which continues through Sept. 30.

Learn more at mvcommunityofhope.org/tents.   

Mike Cook may be contacted at mike@lascrucesbulletin.com.


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