52nd legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2016


Idalia Lechuga-Tena









     WHEREAS, New Mexico agencies aiding the homeless estimate that thousands of New Mexicans are homeless for at least part of the year and even more find themselves at risk of becoming homeless; and

     WHEREAS, people who experience homelessness in New Mexico include families and single mothers with children, people who are working at low-wage jobs and people looking for work, people suffering from mental illness and substance abuse problems, migrant workers, runaway or throwaway teens, victims of domestic violence and veterans; and

     WHEREAS, a number of New Mexico's homeless residents are veterans; and

     WHEREAS, a high percentage of homeless people have a severe or disabling mental illness; and

     WHEREAS, thousands of New Mexico public school students were homeless during the 2014-2015 school year; and

     WHEREAS, homelessness greatly impacts an individual's life expectancy and quality of life; and

     WHEREAS, various studies have shown that, on average, a homeless person's life span is thirty-six percent shorter than the life span of a housed person, and the average age at death of a homeless individual is less than fifty years old; and

     WHEREAS, in 2015, seventy-two people in Albuquerque and twenty-four people in Santa Fe passed away who were homeless or who had experienced homelessness in the past; and

     WHEREAS, the condition of homelessness exacerbates existing health problems and causes new ones; and

     WHEREAS, chronic diseases, such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, mental health problems and other ongoing conditions, are difficult to manage and may worsen under the stressful circumstances of homelessness and acute problems, such as infections, injuries and pneumonia, are difficult to heal when there is no place to rest and recuperate; and

     WHEREAS, homelessness further brings increased risk of communicable disease due to crowded or unstable living conditions and the lack of privacy or security; and

     WHEREAS, medications to manage health conditions are often difficult to obtain, stolen, lost or compromised due to exposure to the elements; and

     WHEREAS, people living without homes are more vulnerable to violence, and between 1999 and 2012, the national coalition for the homeless documented one thousand three hundred twenty- eight acts of violence against homeless individuals by housed perpetrators motivated by the perpetrators' bias against homeless individuals or their ability to target homeless people with relative ease; and

     WHEREAS, the tragedy of homelessness in New Mexico can be lessened by investing in proven solutions, such as rescue missions and shelters, permanent supportive housing for some individuals and rapid rehousing for others, as well as the provision of rental assistance and supportive services to help people stay housed; and

     WHEREAS, a university of New Mexico study has shown that the overall cost to society of housing a disabled homeless person is significantly less than the cost of leaving them homeless; and

     WHEREAS, in 1990, December 21, the longest night of the year, was declared national homeless persons' memorial day in memoriam to those who have perished while homeless; and

     WHEREAS, on December 18, 2015, members of the homeless

community, local advocates and other members of the local community marched in downtown Albuquerque and held a vigil to honor the lives of those who have experienced homelessness and to remember those who have passed away in the community during the year;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that January 27, 2016 be declared "Victims of Homelessness Memorial Day" in the house of representatives in memoriam of those who have passed

while suffering homelessness; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that recognition be extended to the homeless shelters, homeless health care clinics, homeless housing programs and other homeless service providers that assist homeless people every day; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the New Mexico coalition to end homelessness, joy junction, the Albuquerque rescue mission, health care for the homeless, the rock at noon day, St. Elizabeth shelter, crossroads for women, the life link, the Otero hunger coalition, youth shelters, Samaritan house, El Camino Real housing authority, independent living resource center, heading home, CLNkids, Albuquerque affordable housing coalition, new life homes, Barrett foundation, New Mexico veterans integration center, New Mexico crisis and access line and the amity foundation.

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