Updated: January 13, 2021 06:55 PM
Created: January 13, 2021 05:53 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller outlined his priorities for the upcoming legislative session. Among those priorities are funding for public safety and more money to address homelessness.
Carol Pierce, director of Family and Community Services, said homelessness in Albuquerque encompasses a much larger, at-risk population.
“There are vulnerable people that were probably living where it really wasn't the best place to be living—their car, an unheated garage or maybe doubled and tripled up with family and friends where it was too crowded,” said Carol Pierce, director of Family and Community Services.
Pierce said the problem only continues to grow because of the pandemic.
“As of this week, about 750 people in the city alone is housed in the five hotels and the Westside Emergency Housing Center, the most ever in our community with 180 children under the age of 18,” she said.
In 2019, voters approved $14 million for a new hub for homeless housing and services called the Gateway Center. Pierce said a purchase agreement is in for the old Lovelace Hospital on Gibson, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.
As the upcoming 60-day legislative session approaches, Mayor Keller said this issue is one of his priorities and plans to ask the state for an additional $10 million.
“This is for multiple Gateway Centers, so were hoping one is certainly going to be the old Lovelace facility, which needs a lot of rehab and retooling to make this available for folks, but we also have some smaller Gateway Centers as well, so that’s what the funding is for,” said Mayor Keller.
Along with the Gateway and triage centers funding, public safety is also a priority. That’s in addition to other quality of life priorities like Rail Yards infrastructure, an outdoor sports multi-use stadium, and a West Side indoor sports facility. In total, those projects will cost more than $100 million.
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