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Friday, September 14, 2012 - 00:43
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Camp Hope, the temporary tent shelter in Las Cruces, is close to a year of existence and has helped more than a hundred homeless people in transition since it first started last November.
The camp is primarily run by it's members and has helped socialize those who have spent years out on their own.
"I've got a purpose, a goal now and a future, said James Vonbehren, who has been homeless throughout other parts of the country. "That's my main striving point."
Vonbehren is one of the original members and founders of the camp and will be moving into permanent housing next month.
"I've also just recently been enrolled in school going to become a social worker," Vonbehren said.
The Illinois native began taking classes this semester at Dona Ana Community College.
Vonbehren, as well as others have also found a sense of belonging at the camp.
"What's made it really successful is that they have been given the chance and they've really become a community and they have really become invested in the area," said Community of Hope Executive Director Nicole Martinez.
Martinez runs the administrative side of the camp through the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.
She has found housing for a lot of the members through grants.
She said it is very helpful having the residents nearby so they can figure out who is eligible for housing.
Martinez said that sense of community has helped people who have spent years out on their own re-integrate into society.
One of the new members, Tyrone Clark, said the camp is a very safe place full of friendly people.
"Everybody who lives here takes a turn at the security desk making sure everybody stays safe and that's a benefit for everybody," Clark said. "When I'm out working, somebody is there watching our back."
The camp is looking to rezone their property which would allow them to get stronger weather resistant tents and better fencing,
They will be having a fundraiser every month and are asking for any help from the community.
For more information:
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope
999 West Amador Avenue
Las Cruces, NM 88005
Phone: (575) 523-2219