LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The homeless population in Las Cruces is becoming more noticeable, but Henry Young, executive director of The Gospel Rescue Mission, said it’s not a rise in numbers that we’re seeing - but a change in movement within the community.
“More movement and a lot of it is due to weather,” he said. “It's getting cooler now and they’ll move until winter hits and then they’re going to lay low in a certain area because we are known to have more mild winters.”
Young said that for years he's seen a trend with the homeless population tending to travel in a triangle, going from Albuquerque to Las Cruces and Tucson. But within the last year and a half, changes have occurred.
“We’ve seen people coming from the west that are here simply because things aren't good in California and things are getting tougher in Arizona, so they are coming further east all the time,” said Young.
One homeless woman who spoke with ABC-7, Danci Lucas, said she is constantly moving from place to place within the community.
“Really this is the only spot I have left, except going up to Sonoma Ranch, but that's a little further than I can walk,” she said.
Young said the number of people in his shelter has increased tremendously from the low that they had when they were forced to shelter-in-place.
“But now we have people that are coming and we have 4 to 6 intakes per day,” he explained.
“Money is the key to much of it. I'm not asking for donations for us, I’m asking for donations for homelessness in general. With this community effort, I think we can see a lot of it cleaned up,” said Young.
“Lets face it, homelessness is as much a part of the pandemic as Covid is, and we need to try to address the situation now rather than when it's too late,” Young added.