SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city of Santa Fe is moving forward with a plan to create a designated area for the homeless which has some nearby residents nervous about the plans.
City councilors met on June 1 and agreed the midtown campus was likely the best spot for this. The site is located where the old College of Santa Fe was. People who live nearby have raised their concerns.
“Obviously I feel for these folks there should be a solution but as a resident who lives nearby to schools and a neighborhood having an encampment nearby is not ideal for them or for homeowners,” said Kelly Hengehold, a Santa Fe resident.
The 64-acre site sits close to Santa Fe High, other schools, and many parks. People who live nearby all agree the city needs to do more to deal with the homeless problem and get these people help.
The city says it has counted 81 active homeless camps in Santa Fe. They say the camps present a number of dangers, including fires. They also spend more than $3 million a year cleaning up these camps. The hope is this will be a more central location they will have for services.
Some of the estimated costs for the idea include $250,000 a year for security and staffing. However, a lot more still needs to be done including an official vote by city council. The proposal also has some backing it.
“A lot of the encampments that are happening under our bridges and in our parks anyway are already by schools. They’re already taking over parks in town. Having a structured establishment where hopefully people will be required to get mental health and drug help with drug and alcohol problems and be guided towards being functional people in society,” said Summer, a Santa Fe Resident.
The city does have $1M in American Rescue Plan money to help pay for this. They all agree its a temporary solution to a much bigger problem. City council will discuss the idea at another meeting on June 29th.
There were plans to redevelop the city owned property into homes, shops, and parks a few years ago, but the developer pulled out due to rising costs.