FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Shelter Director’s Statement (9/14/17)




Randy Smith, Shelter Director
(575) 523-7727 – Shelter Front Desk
(575) 805-9202 – Cell


Henry Young, LCGRM Pastor & Executive Director



Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission


My name is Randy Smith and I am the Shelter Director of the Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission. I would like to take a moment to clear up a few things.

  1. The Las Cruces area is currently experiencing a large outbreak of MRSA.  I received a report from a local medical professional indicating that MRSA is showing up in local hospitals, day care centers etc. See below:

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by a type of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to many of the antibiotics used to treat ordinary staph infections.

Most MRSA infections occur in people who’ve been in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. When it occurs in these settings, it’s known as health care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). HA-MRSA infections typically are associated with invasive procedures or devices, such as surgeries, intravenous tubing or artificial joints.

Another type of MRSA infection has occurred in the wider community — among healthy people. This form, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), often begins as a painful skin boil. It’s spread by skin-to-skin contact. At-risk populations include groups such as high school wrestlers, child care workers and people who live in crowded conditions.

MRSA is highly contagious and can be deadly;

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the year 2005, MRSA was responsible for an estimated 94,000 life-threatening infections and close to 19,000 deaths (more than AIDS).

As soon as we became aware of this problem we immediately started any prevention methods that we could think of. We procured a large quantity of disinfectant spray and had our volunteers spray everything is sight; counter tops, door knobs, bathroom surfaces, phones, keyboards, dining room tables, kitchen surfaces etc. We are washing all laundry in extremely hot water and the hottest dryer settings. In our efforts to protect the staff and guests staying here I believe we over-reacted a little. I spoke with the Executive Director this morning and we agreed to allow restroom usage for anyone coming to the Mission.

  1. Bed bugs are a huge problem for every homeless shelter. It is impossible to permanently eradicate them because they travel on transients, on used furniture and used clothing. Bed bugs were almost completely eradicated in the early 1970’s but that was about the time that the US Government outlawed DDT (the only pesticide that could kill the bed bugs). Since that time bed bugs have reached epidemic proportions. They can now be found in new clothing, high-end hotels, and new furniture. Many people in the general public have had to spends thousands of dollars trying to remove bed bug infestations in their homes including discarding all their furniture and buying new replacements. People who travel a lot and stay in hotels are purchasing portable “hot boxes” to put all their luggage into when returning from a trip to kill any bed bugs or eggs they may have picked up.  Here at the Gospel Rescue Mission we fight a constant battle against these pests. Last year we purchased an industrial steamer and we built a shed with electric heaters to use as a hot box. Bed bugs eggs can only be killed with extreme heat or cold. When a new person arrives to check in for the first time we put their bags in the hot box overnight to kill any bugs or eggs they may have picked up. We do not allow any personal bags into the dorm areas to cut down on the spread of the bed bugs. We spend hundreds of dollars every month purchasing an oil based insecticide specifically for bed bugs and buckets of Diatomaceous Earth, a powder that clogs the bed bugs pores and kills them. The oil based insecticide does not evaporate so it is effective for longer. When we receive a complaint from a guest that they have bed bugs we put that mattress into the hot box and we have a dedicated volunteer that fights bed bugs as his whole job here go over the guest’s bed frame with the industrial steamer. Then he sprays the bed frame with the insecticide and spreads the Diatomaceous Earth around the bed area. I have slept in a shelter that had a huge bed bug problem for a few weeks and I got ate up every night. I know from personal experience that it is a miserable feeling to lay down to go to sleep and all you can think about is that no matter what you do you will have bugs crawling all over you and draining your blood all night. I also happen to be one of the people who are allergic to them and the bites itch life fire and I can’t stop scratching them until they bleed. This has left me with numerous scars on my legs. I DO NOT want anyone to have to live like that so I try to get my staff of volunteers to aggressively respond to any complaints here at the Mission.


  1. The rules that I have in place here in the Shelter have been tweaked and modified over many years and all of them are in place to protect the guests and to ensure that they can be safe, warm, dry and fed. We help thousands of people every year and 90% of the people that stay here and move on I never hear a single complaint about them. They are grateful for what they receive, follow the rules, cooperate with the staff of volunteers here and they do their small chore in the mornings. The other 10% have a sense of entitlement and believe that the world owes them. They argue with everybody here, they are belligerent and combative. They don’t appreciate anything and they throw a tantrum when they do not get their way. They think that the Mission is a government agency and they can manipulate the system to get what they want. This 10% I call the professional homeless. They have decided to walk away from society and not take any responsibility for their actions. They think that the government or the general public will just have to take care of them. They are not interested in doing anything for themselves, they choose to live on the generosity of others. Most of these people are suffering from a mental illness (sometimes untreated and un-medicated) or they have substance abuse problems. They choose to blot out their intolerable existence by using drugs and/or alcohol to escape from reality that they are creating their own problems. We are still willing to help these people if they will only cooperate with being helped.

In conclusion, I would just like to thank all the amazingly generous citizens of Las Cruces who are really the unsung heroes here. They make the choice to contribute their hard-earned money and time and other resources to the humanitarian efforts in their community. They live their lives knowing that the secret to happiness lies in helping others and being grateful for all the blessings they have. Thank you for allowing me to serve.


In His Service

Randy Smith
Shelter Director
Las Cruces Gospel Rescue Mission
1050 West Amador
Las Cruces, NM 88005
(575) 523-7727 – Shelter Front Desk
(575) 805-9202 – Cell

1050 West Amador   Las Cruces, New Mexico 88005
Phone: (575) 523-7727


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