Business FAQs for Homelessness

Common questions you may be asking about the services that the City of Las Cruces has for addressing homelessness in our City. 

Things You Can Do to Help the Homelessness Situation Right Now

  • Education. Learn about the circumstances that lead to homelessness. Education helps dispel the stereotypes surrounding the persons experiencing homelessness. Learn about effective and proper long-term solutions for ending homelessness and transiency. Help your children understand the circumstances that lead to homelessness. 
  • Employ the homeless. Many companies, specifically in the clerical, security, or construction industries, successfully employ the “unemployable.” Over half the homeless population who work through a reemployment program find stable and permanent jobs after. 
  • Respect. Treat persons experiencing homelessness how you would want to be treated if you were in need. 
  • Volunteer. Sign-up with local organizations. Help do volunteer work, you can volunteer in a shelter or a soup kitchen. You can find a list of non-profits that are always looking to get an extra hand in our Community Resource Guide. 
  • Kindness. We can all make a difference in the lives of our homeless community if when we respond to them kindly rather than dismissing or ignoring them. 
  • Avoid harmful but well-intentioned actions. Sometimes what you don't do is just as impactful in the battle against homelessness. Please do not drop off clothes or food in our parks or give panhandlers food or money on the street. These actions, while well-intentioned, only serve to support the lifestyle on a short-term basis and discourages individuals from seeking out resources from established service providers, where they can also receive other types of help and long-term solutions. These types of organizations that offer structuring programs are where funds should be donated. 

I am a Business Owner 

I have a person experiencing homeless currently on my commercial property. What do I do? 

If the person is in danger or an immediate threat, please call 9-1-1. However, if the person is not a threat you can ask them to leave your property. If trespassing continues, you can call the non-emergency dispatch line, 575-526-0795, to have a police officer come and assist with preventing further trespassing on your property.  

If the issue is ongoing, we recommend also asking the police officer to issue a No Trespassing Card to the individual to prevent future trespassing.  

Ensure that your property has posted "No Trespassing/ Loitering" signs in the vicinity.  

What can I do to prevent a person experiencing homelessness from trespassing? 

  • Avoid offering food or money. 
  • Cut back shrubs and overgrowth to prevent hiding places. 
  • Secure trash receptacles and dumpsters, as well as power outlets, outdoor restrooms, and water sources. 
  • Monitor your property regularly throughout the day and especially in the evenings or hire private security. 
  • Post a "No Trespassing" sign in clear and plain sight, preferably near an entrance to your facility. 
  • Make sure your property is well lit at night. 
  • If you are not sure what to do, reach out to the Community Police Officer in your area who can make recommendations to evaluate the property. For more information please reach out to L.T. Wiitala 575-528-4730 or click here

What is my responsibility as a business owner? 

The City is responsible for all public shared space, but as a business or property owner it is important to note that your property is your responsibility. You are responsible for cleaning up trash and debris on your property, securing trash and utilities properly, trimming back hedges, and ensuring proper lighting. If you are not sure what to do, reach out to the Community Development Department at the City of Las Cruces at 575-528-3059 to learn what your responsibility is, as well as where to find local resources. 

A person experiencing homelessness is asking to use my business restroom. What should I do? 

Employers are required by Federal Law to provide a restroom for employees and staff, however it is the business' choice to allow the restroom to be open to customers or the public. Having a "for customer use" only sign can help clarify each business' rules. 

A person experiencing homelessness is asking my business for food. What should I do? 

Businesses are not required to provide food or services to anyone for free. It is the choice of each business to hand out food or not.  

El Caldito Soup Kitchen serves breakfast 7-8:30 AM and lunch 11:15 – 12:15 PM M-F located at 999 West Amador Avenue (575) 525-3831. It is in the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope Campus, which allows professional outreach and conversations about their situation and options which is preferred. 

Casa de Peregrinos is our local food bank located at 999 West Amador Avenue (575) 543-5542. 

2-1-1 will also connect anyone in need to food-based programs. 

What are good tools for deescalating a situation with a belligerent person on my property? 

It is important to remember that people should be treated with respect and kindness. There are situations where there may be other underlying factors such as mental illness or drug/alcohol abuse. If an individual becomes belligerent, it is not your responsibility to deescalate the situation. Please call 9-1-1 to have Las Cruces Police Department dispatched to the situation and keep you and your staff safe. 

Are there local resources for me to get help for someone who is experiencing homelessness on my property? 

If someone is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 to request help. If you are looking for support or need some more information on how to help someone experiencing homelessness, contact the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope at 999 W Amador Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88005 (575) 523-2219.

The City also partners with Mesilla Valley Community of Hope for the Mano y Mano program, which is a day labor program that employs individuals experiencing homelessness to support the community in cleaning our City's parks. For more information, please email manoymano@las-cruces.org.

 I am a Resident 

I have a homeless person residing on my private property. What do I do? 

 If the person is an immediate threat or in danger themselves, please call 9-1-1. If they are not, contact the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope at 999 W Amador Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88005 (575) 523-2219. 

Note: If you are reporting a crime in progress, give dispatchers as much of a description as possible, especially noting shoe style and color.  

How do I work with the City on finding solutions? 

Contact the City of Las Cruces to learn about Affordable Housing and other programs in the area 
City of Las Cruces Fair Housing   
Phone: 575-528-3022  
Link  

General FAQ 

How many homeless people are currently in Doña Ana County? 

During the 2022 Point-in-Time Count, there were 217 persons experiencing homelessness counted within Doña Ana County boundaries. Of those, 63 were living in shelters (33 people in Emergency Shelters, 30 people in Transitional Housing), while 154 were unsheltered. 

Why do I see more homeless people in Las Cruces? 

This is a national crisis, not just focused in Las Cruces. HUD’s National Point-in-time Count estimates 580,466 people are homeless in the United States. 226,080 of those counted are unsheltered. New Mexico’s Count is relatively low at approximately 3,333 persons comparatively to our surrounding states. For Example, Texas’ count is 27,229; Arizona’s is 10,979; Colorado is 9,846; Oklahoma is 3,932; and Utah is 3,131.   

Why can’t Police do more about homelessness situation?  

People experiencing homelessness are still expected to follow all laws. The City has an effective Community Outreach Program that works with community partners to find solutions for individuals experiencing homelessness. 

Because people experiencing homelessness are not on the street by choice but because they lack choices, criminal and civil punishment serves no constructive purpose. Cities that invest in affordable, supportive housing, are far more effectively in reducing homelessness than courts and jails.  

Criminalizing homelessness creates acute harm and wastes precious public resources on policies that do not work to reduce homelessness.  

In the 2018 Martin v. City of Boise, the Ninth Circuit held that states and municipalities impose cruel and unusual punishment when they criminalize people experiencing homelessness for sleeping, lying, or sitting down in public places when they have nowhere else to go. 

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Reed v. Town of Gilbert that restrictions on panhandling could be a violation of the First Amendment when Cities regulate the content of signs. Panhandling bans challenged by lawsuits have been successfully struck down. 

For more information, please see the Litigation Manual of the National Homelessness Law Center

ADDRESS 

City Hall 
700 N. Main St. 
Las Cruces, NM 88001 
Phone: 575-541-2200 

COMMON LINKS