HUD report: Homelessness peaked in New Mexico in 2020

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – From the closure of Coronado Park to the ongoing construction of the Gateway Center, homelessness is something that’s on the top of minds of so many people in New Mexico, especially in Albuquerque. 

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its annual homeless assessment report, where it breaks down trends they are seeing nationwide. 

For the last two years, the number of homeless people in New Mexico has gone down. But, there is still a lot of work to do when addressing this issue. 

According to the latest HUD report, homelessness in New Mexico peaked in 2020 when it was reported there were 3,333 homeless people in the state. 

In 2021, that number dropped to 2,747. This year, we saw another decrease. HUD currently estimates there are 2,560 homeless people in New Mexico. 

And in the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, the problem is evident. 

We spoke with a City of Albuquerque’s Family and Community Services Department spokesperson, who said in part: 

“This report validates nationally the trends that we have been seeing in Albuquerque, with the covid pandemic affecting the number of people who experience homelessness. We know the point in time count from the HUD report is always an undercount, and the pandemic also affected our ability to conduct an accurate counts.” 

While the number of homeless continues to drop, the HUD report shows, so have the number of beds available in the state. 

The City of Albuquerque says that decrease, at least for the city, is because multiple nonprofits had to reduce their capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions and staffing issues. But they add, all city run shelters have maintained beds. 

Last year, the HUD report said the state had nearly 3,000 beds available year round. But this year that number has dropped to 2,645. 

The Family and Community Services spokesperson went on to say: 

“We agree about the urgent need to keep people in their homes and continue to work with our federal and state partners to get rental assistance funds into the hands of Albuquerque families, as well as create more housing. Our investments in street outreach and permanent supportive housing vouchers aim to reduce chronic homelessness.” 

The city adds when the Gateway Center opens next year, that will also create more beds and resources for our homeless population.