SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a subject of fierce debate in Albuquerque, now Santa Fe is considering the possibility of city-sanctioned homeless camps.  

Councilor Jamie Cassutt is one of the city council members hoping to create city-sanctioned homeless camps. “This is an issue in our community, we know this is an issue in our community. We hear from people every day asking for us to solve this problem,” says Councilor Jamie Cassutt. 

Cassutt, alongside Councilor Renee Villareal and mayor Alan Webber, introduced the idea of “Safe Sleeping Spaces,” similar to what Albuquerque has called “Safe Outdoor Spaces.” Councilor Cassutt says the homeless issue has been growing in Santa Fe, especially along the Cerrillos Road Corridor and Railyard Park and it’s wasting city resources. 

An annual study from one night in January counted 260 people living on the streets, although the real number is estimated as much higher. The spaces would include structures that would serve as private sleeping quarters. They would also provide bathrooms and other basic necessities, as well as 24/7 security. 

Sponsors say the goal would be to provide pathways to permanent housing. The resolution calls on city staff to explore where the camps could go, and find organizations interested in operating them. It also states potential locations would be subject to a “Good Neighbor Agreement” which would include taking public input. 

However, the city has already gotten some pushback. “I would say that most neighborhoods when we talk to them they say not here,” says Council Cassutt. 

Meanwhile other community members think this idea is worth a shot. Councilor Cassutt says there’s no budget yet for the proposal. The City Council is expected to take up the issue next month.