Instead of closure, why not revamp Coronado Park into a Camp Hope? - Albuquerque Journal

Instead of closure, why not revamp Coronado Park into a Camp Hope?

This is our solution? The mayor closes the Coronado camp with no plan? The city does not have a bed for every person living on the streets. He knew this when he said it did.

Safe open spaces must be provided that are temporary, sanitary, safe and self-managed to the extent possible, where people can have respite from moving repeatedly and the stability of an address to maintain connection with the Social Security Administration, Motor Vehicle Department, homeless care providers, family, etc. And for most, it is the first step in getting permanent housing.

The city has been hell-bent on formulating the conditions, terms and zoning ordinances for a utopian, cherry-picked population. To be fair, it has negotiated to protect neighborhoods and businesses — all important goals. But over-prescribing can kill otherwise good projects. Offering safe outdoor space lessens the pressure on our businesses and neighborhoods. Instead of fussing over the maximum number of sanctioned encampments allowed for each council district, let’s start with one, where there is obvious need, where a significant population exists. Camp Hope in Las Cruces models such a space where sanitary needs are met along with a garden, outdoor kitchen and a place for donated items. You can feel the pride that makes their self-governance work.

Coronado Park can be turned around. People living on the street have congregated there for decades. That is probably not going to change. The mayor can install raised tent spaces, provide restroom/shower trailers, contract with a security company, create an office and meeting spaces and pay a local homeless provider to manage or oversee it. The city’s admirable strengths are in community and senior centers, libraries, streets and smart development, but it’s pretty rotten at managing property or people.

How long are we willing to ignore this?

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Instead of closure, why not revamp Coronado Park into a Camp Hope?


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