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Santa Fe Looking For Safe Spaces For The Homeless

Kevin Meerschaert
Dr. Kathleen Van Voorhis from Project Moxie speaks to the crowd at the Safe Outdoor Space Community Forum Tuesday night at the Convention Center. A prefab shelter for the homeless is on the right.

Santa Fe is continuing to look for new ways to find safe places for the city’s homeless population.
A meeting held Tuesday night may have a solution. 

About 150 people gathered at the Santa Fe Convention Center for the Safe Outdoor Space Community Forum.
They heard from a group out of Colorado that has been very successful finding safe spaces for the homeless.
Project Moxie is a Duragno-based consulting group that studies the reasons for homelessness and ways to increase affordable housing and safe areas for the homeless to stay.
They have been working with organizations to help house the homeless in Denver and Aurora, Colorado and hope to do the same in Santa Fe.

One group is Earthlinks in Denver which operates a safe space for the homeless while operating an urban garden and helping the women there get back on their feet.
Earthlinks Executive Director Kathleen Cronan says other communities could do the same.

“First of all there has to be a community will,” she said. “There has to be the recognition that we are all together in this, whether we’re housed or we’re not housed, we are all members of the same community. We’re all members of  the same species. We all inhabit the same planet and once there is the community will, it will be done.”

With the median cost of a home in Santa Fe now over half a million dollars, the strain to find affordable continues to grow, making it even more difficult for those with little means of support like the homeless.

Kevin Meerschaert
Prefab shelters built by the Colorado-based company Pallet Shelter may be a solution to Santa Fe's homeless problem.

Small prefab shelters from the Grand Junction, Colorado company Pallet Shelter may have a solution that is being used by Project Moxie and Earthlinks.
The shed-like buildings include electricity, storage, a bed, heating, air conditioning and other amenities.
Several can be placed together to create a community for the homeless.
Mayor Alan Webber says the event was very constructive and such ideas would be welcome if an organization can be found to operate the facility.   

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.