Can we focus on real solutions for homelessness?

I don’t love everything the Las Cruces City Council does. I advocate much stronger steps to improve the Police Department and its accountability. I yammer about the City’s defective obedience to the Inspection of Public Records Act. Once when I spoke, Councilor Tessa Abeyta treated me the way far-right Republican Congressfolk treat Merrick Garland.

But let’s play fair. If we really want to improve our community, not just make political points, it helps to know who at least influences what.

We are not seeing homelessness because we’re unusually nice to unhoused folks or because we live somewhat near an international border. Our warm climate and open spaces compound the problem, but the nation is experiencing an epidemic of homelessness.

Peter Goodman

The reasons aren’t secrets: we have chosen not to spend enough money on affordable housing; unlike other developed nations, we’ve chosen a healthcare system in which healthcare is not a right, many citizens lack health insurance, and others are just a catastrophic injury or illness away from homelessness. (42% of U.S. citizens who receive cancer diagnoses spend their entire life savings within months.) While modern life tends to unsettle many of us, our society takes less care of the mentally ill or the demented than it should. Large numbers of citizens live from paycheck to paycheck, subject to eviction if an unusual expense – even a dead car – devours the rent money.


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