First look: Inside the Gateway Shelter

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In 2019, voters approved $14 million for a homeless shelter.

At the time, there was no location selected. Then, the city purchased the Gibson Medical Center near Kirtland Air Force Base – and a zoning hang up had the shelter’s progress in limbo, until now.

Now, the first and second floors of the Gibson Medical Center – which is also called the Gateway Center – are largely under construction. City officials expect within the next six to nine months, they will have 100 beds ready to welcome people who are homeless.

There are only two ways people receiving services will get in – if they have referral from another service provider, like a nonprofit or the Albuquerque Community Safety Division, or if emergency first responders drop them off.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said this is a badly needed resource that the city has never had before.

“This is what our city has to provide, this is what our community has to have to make any change, material change in what’s going on, on our streets today,” Keller said.

Doug Chaplin is an operations manager for Albuquerque’s Family Community Services. He walked KOB 4 through his vision for how the building will someday help over a thousand homeless people every year.

“I’m really excited, actually excited about all of this,” Chaplin said. “But the medical respite space is something that’s very much needed in our community.”

Eventually there will be a 40-bed medical center to treat people that would otherwise be cycling in and out of the emergency room.

The low-barrier shelter will eventually have beds for 250 people on a nightly basis, and a place for those in the grips of addiction. Mayor Keller said eventually 40 beds will be dedicated to a medical sobering center, where first responders can drop off people.

In total, the Gateway Shelter is expected to have more than 330 beds by summer 2025. For now, they are hoping to get 100 beds open and operational by next summer.