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Las Cruces seeks to hold the line against virus spread among the homeless

Several homeless people wait in line to get an ID at the Community of Hope in Las Cruces.
Several homeless people wait in line to get an ID at the Community of Hope in Las Cruces.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - For the homeless community in Las Cruces, the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope has long been a source of their salvation and has become even more important as the the coronavirus pandemic continues to ingrain itself farther into the Borderland.

So far, the biggest issue for Community of Hope has been a dramatic downtick in donations and volunteers.

They’re now asking for their neighbors in Las Cruces to help specifically in those two areas if they are able, stressing that every dollar counts.

As for the Community of Hope staff, they’ve scaled back on in-person visits to clients in favor of more phone calls when able.

They’ve also started favoring more video chatting when able.

However, they say their services, regular operating hours and the amount of people they are helping has not been made smaller at all.

“We realize that we are in a job that has been deemed essential," said executive director Nicole Martinez. "We know that we have to continue being here and we have to provide these essentials for people that need them and staff has been really dedicated and amazing and shown immense courage and teamwork.”

They have been keeping a close eye for potential COVID-19 symptoms and anyone showing symptoms is being sent to a health center located right across the street.

One specific difficulty for the group recently has been bringing in more hand sanitizers and other supplies as those items continue to rapidly disappear from the shelves of local stores.

“They have a rule in the stores that you can only have one of each thing so it has been difficult for us to get some things," said Martinez. "We have had to do some online ordering as well. Locally, we have had issues trying to make sure we have enough provisions for this.”

And a basic, but highly important, new policy put in place - as with so many other businesses - is a strict hand washing and general disinfectant policy for clients, workers and work areas.

Article Topic Follows: New Mexico

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Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon is a former ABC-7 reporter who co-anchored Good Morning El Paso weekends.


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