ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – With below-freezing temperatures and snow across the state, homeless shelters are quickly filling up. In Roswell, homeless people were forced out of the place they usually go to keep warm, so now the city is offering a temporary solution.
“It came together surprisingly very easily, I thought it was going to be more difficult but agencies stepped up,” said homeless advocate Jeneva Martinez.
With snow still falling in Roswell Wednesday and temperatures continuing to drop, the city along with advocates for the homeless had to act quickly to find people a warm place to stay.
“We went to give supplies out and while I was out there, there was a gentleman that was completely covered in snow, had about three-quarters of an inch that was accumulating on him, and was freezing. And so, I just started making calls, stopped by City Hall, met with our city manager, and just said can you give us a building. I’ll work on coordinating volunteers,” said Joel Woods, President of the Roswell Homeless Coalition.
Woods says all the shelters in town are full.
“Our shelters, our local shelters are full, so we had eight individuals at our men’s center come in, in the last 24 hours, on top of those that were already there. So we had 22 individuals there, here at this facility in the last 24 hours, the last 18 hours we’ve had about 15 individuals come here,” said Woods.
For years, the homeless in Roswell have usually made makeshift camps in the Berrendo Creek bed where they could light fires to stay warm. The city has always tried to stop it, even posting cease-and-desist notices to get them to leave. Two weeks ago, the city voted to make those homeless camps illegal. Advocates said if the city wanted to shut the camps down, they need to fund a city shelter, and now it looks like that’s happening, at least temporarily.
“He city was able to provide the cots and people in the community just wanting to help, so we have our challenges but we’re getting through them,” said Martinez.
The Roswell Homeless Coalition says the shelter will stay open until 6 p.m. Thursday but they hope this becomes a recurring partnership with the city.
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