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Santa Fe Holds Town Hall To Discuss Homelessness

Kevin Meerschaert
About 150 people from around Santa Fe gathered Tuesday evening at the Convention Center to discuss the problems of homelessness in the city and what can be done about it.

About 150 people gathered at the Santa Fe Convention Center Tuesday night to discuss the city’s homeless and to discuss some ideas to help them find a place to live.

People from across the area, including some who are currently homeless, participated in the Town Hall.   After a presentation by the city’s Santa Fe Housing Initiative, attendees split into groups at 20 round tables to discuss the city’s homelessness problem and to share their concerns and to share  ideas of what can possibly be done.

Many discussed issues like safety, the need for more services like hygiene locations and more structure and education regarding what already is available and what more needs to be done.

Mayor Alan Webber says he believes the Town Hall was a great success.

“We got a great turnout, we got a lot of good energy, we got a lot of honesty and directness,” he said.  “There are people in the room that are homeless, talking about what it’s like to be homeless. There are people in the room who feel that homeless people impinge on their quality of life and they’d like more safety and we can do both.”         

The comments and information collected will be used as the city considers programs to put an end to homelessness. 

Director of the Community Health and Safety Department Kyra Ochoa says they have made a commitment to hearing everything Santa Fe has to say about homelessness.

We want to share back with them and the public what we heard tonight, around people’s concerns and around their ideas,” she said. “I think that we’re building community will for solutions that we’ve never tried before.”       

The city also announced beginning September 2nd it will again enforce the laws to clear out anyone who is illegally camping on city property.

That’s due to the announcement Pete’s Place will close the Women’s Summer Safe Haven and open the Seasonal Overnight Shelter to men and women beginning on Friday.

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