Albuquerque officials consider designated homeless camps

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There is a new plan to give those without a home a new and safe place to stay in Albuquerque.

Mayor Tim Keller is now saying a city-managed and designated homless camp could be a solution to some homelessness problems in the city. KOB 4 spoke with a city council member about the idea and where those potential locations would be.

"We see them every day, who are not ready to get into permanent supportive housing," said Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis.

Even with Tiny Homes Village and the proposed Gateway Center, Davis says it’s a way to address the issue of those who don’t want to be placed in a home.

"Even though we are putting $40 million into housing every year, we still have a waiting list, and we still have people who aren’t willing to get into those other places and we need to come up with an answer for some of them. Maybe this is an option we should explore," said Davis.

While the plan is still very much in it’s beginning phase, the goal is to clear out homeless camps at parks and move them to empty dirt lots. Now, the city says they don’t plan on picking just any dirt lot, they are looking for locations that are near homeless services and ones that are far from any homes.

"This is not about turning your neighborhood park into an encampment. This is about incentivizing in certain parts of town where they are not disruptive to other residents or other uses," said Davis.

And the camps wouldn’t be open to just anyone.

"Some of the early things we have learned is that they have to be small enough to be manageable, they have to be managed, it can’t just be a free for all, there needs to be a structure and a system for it," said Davis.

This isn’t a new idea, Santa Fe is also looking into it and Las Cruces has already created these types of camps.

"Done right, other cities have seen a lot of success with it, but we got a lot of details yet to be sorted out before the City of Albuquerque will start doing these," Davis said.

The city council knows this is going to be a big topic of discussion in Albuquerque. They say in April and the start of May, there will be multiple meetings where citizens will be able to speak their minds about this. But the city will have to make a decision soon, it has until the end of May to finalize the budget.