City of Albuquerque closing 2 ‘wellness hotels’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The City of Albuquerque is closing two of three ‘wellness hotels’ it set up to keep the homeless population safe during the pandemic.

Lisa Huval, deputy director of Housing and Homelessness for the City of Albuquerque, said the wellness hotels started out serving people with underlying conditions. However, the city saw the need grow. Eventually, 200 people were utilizing the hotels, including families with children.

The hotels are funded with federal dollars. So far, the city has spent $2.8 million on the effort.

However, the hotels serving single adults will close at the end of June.

"We’ve been working hard to make sure everyone currently staying at the wellness motels or hotels, one, that they have an opportunity to be vaccinated," Huval sate.

The city is also providing other servicing, including plans on how to transition out of homelessness.

Since the hotels opened, Huval said the city has transitioned 44 households to safe housing.

"I think part of what we saw from our community when we opened the wellness motel, was in a central location, this was an easier resource for families to access and also something that they felt more comfortable with because they did have some privacy by having their own room," Huval said.

The wellness hotels for families will remain open for the time being.