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Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 12:15am
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — It's helped dozens of homeless people get back on their feet and will continue to do so after Las Cruces city council unanimously approved a change in zoning for Camp Hope Tuesday afternoon.
Camp Hope also known as known as "Tent City" is on average providing temporary shelter for about 50 people while the transition out of homelessness.
"I've now got a future and I've got a home," said James Vonbehren, one of the camp's original founders. "I've got something to look forward to."
The camp off of Amador Avenue also serves to help reintegrate its members into society by providing a community atmosphere.
The camp has helped close to a 150 people and on average most stay at the camp for about four months before they find permanent housing or move elsewhere.
"This situation (at Camp Hope) has been an inspiration," said Councilor Greg Smith during the meeting. "I believe it is something this community can take some pride in doing."
However, area business owners did express concerns after having issues with homeless in the past.
Some said they would like to be part of the solution and are open to exploring ideas on how to alleviate those issues.
Council did approve the change but with several conditions, most of which are currently being met.
Some of the changes will require a permanent bathroom facility and elevated pad sites for tents.
"It's going to be difficult to pay for the improvements and to build it ourselves," said Camp Hope Executive Director Nichole Martinez. "We are asking the community to come together on that."
Martinez said campers will be doing a lot of the work but they will need to raise a lot of money.
The camp will have to do a final site plan and once approved they will have a full year to complete all the improvements.
For more information:
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope
999 West Amador Avenue
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Phone: (575) 523-2219