First ‘Safe Outdoor Space’ approved in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city gave the green light to a “Safe Outdoor Space” application Wednesday – the first space in Albuquerque to get approved.

The City of Albuquerque’s Planning Department approved the location on Menaul near the Big-I, meaning people who are homeless will be allowed to live there. The space is approved for 40 tents and 50 people.

The organization that will oversee it says it will tailor the space for women only.

The Albuquerque City Council will discuss a moratorium on the application process for Safe Outdoor Spaces Monday. However, this will not impact the ability for the approved space to move forward.

KOB 4 learned Wednesday that the women who live there will be responsible for cleaning and acting as security on the property. They hope to start moving in tents and other infrastructure in 30 to 45 days.

“It’s a really good example of what happens when all four legs of the table work together. And I mean the city, the county, the business community, and the religious community and non-profits,” said Brad Day, a retired Albuquerque business owner. “If we don’t start helping the homeless get off the streets, it’s not gonna stop, it’s just gonna get worse.”

But, how will these spaces differ from what people are seeing right now at Coronado Park?

Leaders have said time and again these spaces are not lawless encampments like Coronado Park, some consider them an answer to those types of encampments.

These spaces will include an approval process to get in, rules and curfew in some cases once you’re in, and on-site city services.

“Places like Coronado Park are completely unacceptable and very dangerous to most that are living there, and we need to make spaces that are safer and secure for people who are trying to get back on the path to a regular life,” said Elizabeth Holguin with the Albuquerque Family and Community Services Department. 

As of now, there are four applications for Safe Outdoor Spaces, and only the Menaul location is approved so far.