LC Homeless……

ood Morning Mayor, The commonality I am finding amongst those rallying to lessen the homeless situation is centered around “Me” and not “Them”. I am beginning to rub some folks adversarially because of their focus. I see the the government funded organizations being far more interested in just managing an ever growing problem and having little desire or voice that supports lessening it. The push for low income housing as the Desert Apartments project is a perfect example with disastrous results for those in it and the neighborhood surrounding it. Community of Hope manages (if you can call their efforts that). I looked at the garden sheds recently built to replace the tents at the Community of Hope. That is not a solution. it appeases the public in seeing that they now have a physical dwelling (a roof) when in all reality they just replaced the tents which just removes a few from the streets so the public does not have to see them. From my interviews and meeting attendance, beyond the crime issue, this is all the public appears to actually want. Community of Hope and all other organizations of such that take our taxpayer dollars need to come to the table and explain how what they are doing is lessening the situation. Oh sure they tell the story of a mother and three kids and how they found her a home (in a drug infested apartment complex) but never talk about getting the mentally impaired real psychiatric care or the drug and alcohol addicted clean and sober. Why is that? Because, to be graphic, the homeless relief industry is pimping out the homeless to sustain their enterprise and the taxpayers are buying into what they and their supporters are selling. I have been to every community meeting on the homeless subject and at every one a City Councilor stands up and attempts to make the audience feel guilty so as to get funding for their low income housing pet project as if it is the cure all. As I keep trying to get across, the name Homeless does not define the issue. ref “The Culture of Homelessness” by Ravenhill. As I am not sure why you invited me and the others to your Homeless Task Force, I may not be the right fit. The others I find are only interested in solutions to their personal problems (which are valid) or the unease they feel from seeing ones that undermine their cozy world view. They have little interest in the actual plight we see. They just want it visually out of their life. I am sure you are unaware of what Alcoholic Anonymous brings to our community in helping the alcohol and drug problem. Many drug addicts use AA because they find Narcotics Anonymous meetings less positive. Besides there being 80 AA meetings a week in Las Cruces, less than a block from your office on any given Wednesday night there is a meeting of AA that attracts 50 to 60 young people who, through the help of the people in the program, are putting in the effort to turn their life around. AA is self supported by its attending numbers (a voluntary buck or two if one has it in the basket), takes no outside contributions and has a success rate of those that follow the program of recovery of 98%. Having a willingness to change is the answer. I have never heard “if I just had a house, a job, my family back or a loving community I could get clean and/or sober” as the solution. They see the true nature of their situation.This is where the book “When Helping Hurts”, by Corbet and Fikkert would be enlightening. Sorry to ramble on. My point is, are we really trying to address the mentally ill and substance abuse that dominates the homeless or just hide the problem or force them out to another city? Yes, Southwest Counseling has reopened but from my 20 years of experience in Las Cruces Alcoholics Anonymous and observing the ones that used that facility in the past along with Mesilla Valley Hospital, most of the issues they address that are homeless realted require the patients to commit to a life of personally responsible actions like active vigilance (ie changing ones playmates and play places) which require active involvement in support type groups. This does not work for the word homeless because recovering homeless will not sit around and discuss that life after they have left it but it does address the problem that brought them to such a sad life of existence so they and/or their family members do not end up that way again. Rob Wood Mayors Homeless Task Force


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