New Mexico

As Las Cruces residents prepare for biting cold, homeless lack adequate shelter

Las Cruces homeless population braces...

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - As Las Cruces residents prepare for temperatures that could dip below freezing, the city's homeless population is improvising in order to stay warm.

"I guess the worst thing about it is waking up in the morning," said 24-year-old Matthew Shed, who lives in a tent behind the Community of Hope. "You don't have anywhere to get warm... so you pretty much just layer up."

Shed, a native of Estancia, New Mexico, traveled to Las Cruces to attend school. However, he is currently not enrolled in classes and has lived in the tent for seven months.

"Living outside, I guess, you don't really have any options," Shed said. "Very few options to get warm."

Teresa Chavez, a Roswell native, is only 19.

"I've only been here about a week," said Chavez, who lives in a tent inside a partially enclosed wooden structure. "This structure, it keeps me warm, but sometimes it gets really cold, so I got to bundle up."

Chavez said Las Cruces temperatures are much warmer than Roswell, however, it still gets chilly.

"I just take warm showers," Chavez said. "It relaxes me."

While Shed and Chavez are both very young, there are many older people that live in the group of tents behind the Community of Hope.

"I'm young, but there are some older people here," Shed said.

Shed told ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom his tent does essentially nothing to block out the cold temperatures, and any harsh elements like rain or snow could damage it.

"The rain, it will just be coming down too hard, it will just come right through them," Shed said. "The weather, the sun, it just makes them tear apart, so it just shreds apart."

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