NM lawmakers stay overnight on Albuquerque streets
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Lawmakers joined the homeless population Saturday night in the metro to walk in their shoes for a bit.
“Pick Up New Mexico” invited Sen. Harold Pope Jr. and Rep. Eleanor Chavez to stay the night in the streets. It’s all with hopes of gaining more insight into this population.
“For us, it’s really understanding what’s going on, listening to their stories, how they got here, what type of support, help they need to overcome this situation,” said Pope. Jr.
Other organizers and homeless advocates came together on Saturday evening to speak from their perspectives on homelessness. They hope to bring more knowledge to lawmakers for solutions.
“I’m hoping that this night is one of many and to where we can just decrease the homeless population and not just for a few people, but hundreds of people and that we find long term solutions,” said Shane Rabindranath, executive director of the Steelbridge Ministries.
Advocates hope this event can help build a base for future solutions.
“That’s what we hope to do tonight is to help encourage those that have the capacity to put that foundation of support in place,” said Ralph Martinez, co-founder of the Española Pathways Shelter.
We caught up with Pope Jr. and Chavez after their night in a tent the next morning. We wanted to see what came out of the night.
“For many of these folks out here, they’ve all gotten a story on how they’ve gotten here, and we can’t just have a cookie-cutter approach to how we deal with and help folks,” said Pope Jr.
“You know, some of the things you think about are how do they stay warm, how do they get water, how do they stay clean,” said Chavez. “Things as simple as using the restroom, and being able to wash your hands.”
With the legislative session in full swing, the hope is to bring some real insight back to the Roundhouse. It’s all on the subject of homelessness in the state.
“Just having the conversation of what we saw, the conversations of actually going up to folks that were staying in tents, I think that goes a long way compared to just folks coming to present or testify in a committee, we were actually here,” said Pope Jr.