City councilor considers revamping Safe Outdoor Spaces resolution
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – City workers can no longer remove or destroy homeless camps. Instead, they must find places for homeless people to live.
City councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn says the solution – at least for now– is Safe Outdoor Spaces.
“I believe the long term solution is more overnight shelters, but right now we do not have enough of those to provide services to every person that’s homeless in our city,” said Fiebelkorn.
Safe Outdoor Spaces are something the city has been trying to get off the ground for more than a year. It approved it’s first of three locations in August 2022.
The area would have been a fenced in campsite with matching tents and bathrooms, and supervision.
But now city reps say there are no Safe Outdoor Spaces in operation. One reason is the application process to run a site was too challenging.
“There was a lot of applications but not a lot of folks that had all the legal knowledge and time to spend going through this permit process. So this kind of shortens that time frame, reduces the burden on people that want to apply for these, so we can do them quickly,” Fiebelkorn said.
Fiebelkorn wants to change that process this second time around.
A new resolution is trying to make the application process to run one of these sites easier.
“Right now we have people in my neighborhood camping and sleeping in arroyos, bike paths, city parks and I don’t think anyone wants that, so this is an alternative to give folks a place to go but also imply with that injunction we’re seeing,” said Fiebelkorn.
The new resolution suspends the option for a land use hearing officer or city council to appeal the application. Leaving the final decision in the hands of the city’s Planning Department.
“It would just streamline the permit process so that we can get some of these up and going in the next 45 days or so,” Fiebelkorn said.
The resolution also states the city must submit applications for at least three Safe Outdoor Spaces within 45 days.
Within 60 days the city has to provide some more answers, including how many beds we would need to house every single homeless person, and how we would get them.
Another reason Safe Outdoor Spaces never really got off the ground is because no one wanted them near their neighborhoods.
The city has a map of where these sites can be located. They told KOB 4 none of the potential locations are in residential areas.
The resolution is expected to go before Albuquerque city council Wednesday.