Dashboard aims to keep public informed about progress on homelessness

Dashboard aims to keep public informed about progress on homelessness

The City of Albuquerque is trying to keep the community in the know with regular updates on homelessness and what it's doing to improve the situation.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The City of Albuquerque is trying to keep the community “in the know” with regular updates on homelessness and what it’s doing to improve the situation.

“I have been working on the street out here for 15 years and the level of desperation I cannot explain it to you, it is awful and I have never seen it like this,” said Christine Barber, executive director of AsUR New Mexico. Her group reaches out to women who are homeless to get them resources and supplies.

Barber said about 60% of homeless women live on the streets to escape abuse.

“We’ve heard this story over and over and over and over, they feel safer on the street than they do at home,” Barber said. “They might get a tent, or they might stay with another woman, but then they will come be moved by the city, oftentimes without warning, even if they’re just laying on the sidewalk trying to get some sleep because they had to stay awake all night for safety, which is very common.”

Now there’s a new push from the city to show the work it’s doing to help the homeless community.

Katie Simon with the CABQ Health, Housing, and Homeless Department said the online dashboard will be updated monthly with statistics like how many people are in shelters and the number of times city employees have approached homeless camps to give them notice to vacate.

“We want folks to be able to understand a little bit more about how we’re addressing homelessness. You know homelessness is a complicated problem,” Simon said.

Simon also went over the city’s process of removing homeless encampments.

“For any other public property, we have a process where our outreach folks are giving people – first they offer people a shelter bed, they offer them storage of their belongings and transportation to that shelter, and if those offers are refused then we give them 72 hours to vacate the area,” she said.

The website also lists resources for people who are homeless and how to report encampments.

Barber said the dashboard is nice, but it points to what she calls a major flaw.

“Then they have to go find a place somewhere else the next day because they can’t go to a shelter because there’s no shelter space according to their [the city’s] own statistics,” Barber said.

She said most of the women she helps are even less safe if they are constantly having to move, adding she hopes to see transitional housing that doesn’t get rid of people’s possessions.

“Now they’re starting to arrest people for being on public property for trespassing thinking that’s the solution to put them in jail but when they get out of jail because they can’t afford the bail, they’ll still be homeless what have you solved nothing,” she said.