Mayor Keller holds town hall, addresses issues in Albuquerque
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller held a routine town hall meeting Friday to take questions from the community.
“We have so much going on in our city,” Keller said. “These are tough times, there’s no doubt. But, we are holding the line on a number of key issues.”
There were many questions related to homelessness in Albuquerque.
Where will the people who lived in Coronado Park go? What is being done to help the homeless, to get them off the street, parks, bosque and move them toward permanent housing and jobs?
“With respect to our approach in general, it is an all-of-the-above approach, meaning, housing is ultimately what people need – they need shelter,” Keller said. “We have that available, but not everyone is ready. They might be suffering from addiction. They might be suffering from alcoholism or mental health issues.”
Keller pointed to the closing of Coronado Park, citing safety concerns as the reason why a fence was built around the park last week. He said two thirds of the people living there were connected to the wide-ranging services the city offers.
“There’s a tidal wave of homelessness and poverty flowing all over America, and so, we really are trying to hold the line here and that’s pretty much the best any city can do right now,” Keller said.
Questions about encampments were met with explanations about the backlog the city is dealing with to clear illegal campsites. Earlier this week, the mayor’s office said they are clearing 200 encampments a month.
Keller also said the Gateway Shelter should help – when it opens next year.
The mayor also addressed questions and concerns about illegal street racing, the Albuquerque Rail Trail, litter, and police staffing. He said many city departments are hurting for people – and they’re hiring.
“Even though we are facing tremendous challenges, I’ll tell you I’m grateful to live here. And I believe in our city and I know that we’re doing the best we can to hold the line during some very difficult times, especially with public safety and homelessness,” Keller said.
The town hall was just under an hour long. To watch, click here.