City, county leaders respond to concerns about homelessness

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Toward the beginning of the Homeless Coordinating Council meeting Tuesday morning, local leaders opened the floor to the public.

“I just want to be a voice for the voiceless,” said Allen Crosby.

Crosby has experienced homelessness firsthand for more than five years.

“The most difficult part of this was that there’s nowhere that I was allowed to be legally,” he said. “I couldn’t be on the sidewalk, that was illegal. That’s city property. I couldn’t be on the street, that was illegal. That was state property. I couldn’t be under the bridge, that was county property. There was nowhere that I could be legally.”

Crosby said, at times, it felt like being homeless in general was illegal. He also brought up the city’s recent closure of Coronado Park.

“You know, that was a great start, they had a place to stay, a place to lay down, place to eat, but that even got taken away from them,” he said. “So now they are, again, illegal where ever they are.”

Crosby told the panelists he wants to help people who are homeless, but he doesn’t know where to start. Local leaders did not give a lengthy response, but did say they wanted to hear more.

“Thank you Allen, for your comments, very important and I think we will – there are probably committees and other contexts where your voice could be heard and would be important to do so,” said Dr. Douglas Ziedonis, UNM Health Sciences chair.