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COVID-19 couldn’t stop Mesilla Valley Community of Hope (MVCH) and a dedicated group of volunteers from raising almost $53,000 in this year’s Tents to Rents campaign, which moves residents of MVCH’s Camp Hope tent city into their own apartments.
This year’s campaign, which ran Aug. 14-Sept. 30, raised $52,684 -- $660 more than the 2019 campaign, said MVCH Executive Director Nicole Martinez.
“We are grateful to those who participated, sponsored and donated to this fundraiser, especially during a time when finances are so unsteady,” Martinez said. “We are pleased to be able to continue operating Camp Hope, because of the funds raised this year and will continue to house people as quickly as we can.”
Camp Hope has no independent funding source, so funds raised by the Tents to Rents campaign help pay for utilities, tents, tarps, maintenance and insurance, Martinez said.
“It also means we can help move several people into their own apartments by helping with first month’s rent, security deposits and utility arrears/deposits,” she said. “Likely, we will be able to help at least 20 people with housing assistance directly from the camp and we can continue to shelter at least 200-plus people this year at the camp.”
Martinez added that she is regularly contacted about Camp Hope.
“During the pandemic, I can’t tell you how many calls I have received from other communities asking for help with creating their own outdoor, sanctioned camps,” she said. “We know that this model works and has improved the lives of those who used its services and we are delighted to share it with others.”
The top fundraiser for Tents to Rents 2020 was again Good Samaritan Society Las Cruces Village “Housing Helpers.” It raised $24,243 for this year’s campaign, and has raised almost $49,000 during the past two Tents to Rents campaigns.
“I can’t say enough how grateful we are for the support from the folks at Good Samaritan who champion the efforts in ending homelessness,” Martinez said.
Martinez came up with the idea for Tents to Rents in 2016. That year, it raised more than $13,000. In 2017, fundraising totaled more than $28,000. In 2018, it reached more than $53,000. Last year’s total was $42,024.
To see this year’s fundraising totals, visit tentstorents.org.
In addition to cash donations, MVCH needs new or gently used coats, blankets, socks, gloves, tents, towels, shampoo, soap and other toiletries for its clients struggling with homelessness. Mail cash donations to MVCH, P.O. Box 16526, Las Cruces, N.M. 88004.
MVCH served 2,744 clients last fiscal year, including 317 veterans, and provided shelter to 234 in Camp Hope Tent City. It provided housing to 570 people, including 150 children. MVCH is located at 999 W. Amador Ave.
Contact Martinez at 575-523-2219 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.mvcommunityofhope.org.