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Las Cruces gives house to the homeless

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jun 17 2013 11:12:26 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2014 12:02:59 PM CDT
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Four homeless women in Las Cruces will move from tents to a house.

The Las Cruces City Council voted to give a home in Mesilla Park to the Community of Hope, a local group that helps the homeless.

It's a decision that had many residents upset.

People packed the City Council chambers inside City Hall. Many of them were there to support a petition against the project. Around 200 people signed the petition.

"It sounds very Pollyanna, just hunky dory. These homeless people are going to be rehabilitated but what effect does it have to us?" said Rosella Romero, a Mesilla Park resident.

"It would be no less than if an owner bought it and four college kids moved in. I think you'd have more trouble with four college kids than having these people," said Sue Campbell, a woman who used to be homeless.

The city purchased a foreclosed home with state grant money through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The Community of Hope will own and manage the house which is on College Avenue.

The group plans to house four homeless women with disabilities. Each woman will pay rent equal to 30 percent of her income.

All of the women will be screened and have to pass background checks before they can move in.

This will be the 10th house the city has purchased through this program. Nine other houses have been used to help low-income or special needs families.

Residents in Mesilla Park were concerned about many things, including safety and property values.

Community of Hope Director Nicole Martinez was adamant that similar projects throughout the city had no major issues.

"There was a lot of opposition. I think once they see the program in action, hopefully the community will band together and accept the women being there and hopefully be good examples," Martinez told ABC-7.

The house will be renovated and improved for accessibility before the women move in.

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