An Unfavorable Opinion of Our Work May25

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An Unfavorable Opinion of Our Work

Recently published in the local paper Santa Fe New Mexican, columnist Dorothy Klopf delivers a less-than-favorable take on helping the homeless and panhandling in our community. Please click here to read the entire article Santa Fe’s Compassion Goes Too Far, in which Ms. Klopf opines:

For example, The Santa Fe Reporter has run a series of articles on homelessness that borders on romance fiction. The final article has a heroine, someone who was herself homeless and now has a role in running a service group called Santa Fe Need and Deed. She recounts a parable of an older gentleman who came to a meeting to see about offering his help to the group: “During a break, he said, ‘Well, I was going to give some money to your organization, but I don’t know if I want to give to them,’ pointing to the group of smokers outside. ‘If they have money for cigarettes, they must not need help that bad.’ ” Martha responds with dignified condescension, “This is probably about you and not about them. It is about your biases and judgments.”

At Santa Fe Need and Deed, as an advocacy group, our goal is simple: we strive to connect those who need help with who can help. This is a big task, requiring the efforts of many. Naturally, we are bound to receive criticism at some point while in the midst of such a large undertaking.

Perhaps Ms. Klopf hadn’t thoroughly researched our group before she singled out Santa Fe Need and Deed for criticism. Following two paragraphs that skewer the City of Santa Fe for “enabling alcoholism and drug addiction” with their open door policy at the Cerrillos Road shelter, she uses Santa Fe Need and Deed as an example of “sentimentality” which she believes dominates City policy.

Santa Fe Need and Deed thus far has an operating budget that is wholly dependent upon individual donors, and while many of them have requested anonymity, we can assure Ms. Klopf not one of them is the City of Santa Fe.

Further, Santa Fe Need and Deed has a very strict policy of only helping those who are sober. At our weekly meetings, we are fair but firm about the steps one must take to meet that requirement.

We invite you to attend our Monday meetings. The doors are open. Even to members of the press. Learn, listen and perhaps choose to help us advocate for the homeless in our community.