Albuquerque’s Gateway Center gets zoning green light

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For years, the potential solution to the city’s homelessness has been echoed by leaders across several departments as the Gateway Center.

The project is finally closer to opening since the zoning department gave the city the green light for the permit it needs to be used as an overnight shelter. But that approval is the first step in a much bigger plan to get the center up and running.

Mayor Tim Keller said back in June, “the Gateway Center has been delayed years because of appeals based on zoning laws made by a small, tiny community that doesn’t want that thing to open.”

Now that the zoning delay is over, what comes next?

Family and community services representatives say demolition and renovations are happening now on phase one—including an emergency shelter, the first responder drop-off, detox center, and medical unit for people who are too sick to recover on the street, but not sick enough for the hospital.

Mayor Keller also talked about what would come after the zoning change, at the same news conference in June.

“All those numbers that you hear all these debates about in terms of what we can allow and so forth– then it just becomes a function of execution about getting the center rehabbed and open and available,” said Keller. 

FCS representatives say there are five healthcare tenants providing services right now.

Albuquerque Community Safety also recently moved into the center, and it’s also home to a trauma recovery center and the city’s Violence Intervention Program offices.

But what about funding? The city’s 2023 budget included $12.6 million for the Gibson Health Hub. $10.6 million to operate the Gateway emergency shelter and first responder drop-off, $1.3 million for the medical respite unit, and $730,000 for the medical sobering (detox) unit.

KOB 4 is still working to get answers to questions about capacity, the timeline on when the shelter could open, and how the Mayor’s office overcame the zoning challenges, especially in regards to agreements with surrounding neighborhoods.