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Santa Fe New Mexican: Mayor Alan Webber on the Issues

September 25, 2021


Homelessness is stressful for everyone — people experiencing homelessness and the surrounding community. In Santa Fe, our values tell us that not one person should be without housing. Housing is a basic right. During the pandemic, cities around the country were seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases and deaths among homeless populations. You can’t “shelter in place” if you have no place to shelter. I’m proud to say that because we acted fast and stood up an emergency shelter on the midtown campus, Santa Fe had zero reported deaths from COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness.

We’re implementing Built for Zero, a program with the Community Solutions organization designed to end homelessness. With their help and with $2 million of our CARES Act funds, the city helped purchase Santa Fe Suites to provide housing for unhoused and housing-insecure community members, including veterans. That’s a model we can replicate. We must continue our work with Built for Zero until we reach the standard of housing for all. We’ll work on continued solutions for permanent housing for unhoused Santa Feans. This includes workforce housing, affordable housing, emergency rental assistance, emergency housing and housing specifically for community members who are experiencing homelessness or who are precariously housed. Our response to homelessness also includes mental and behavioral health services to help people get back on their feet if needed.