Neighbors raise concerns about encampments near Gateway Center
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque residents say the city isn’t being a good neighbor. When the Gateway Center on Gibson was established as a homeless shelter, the City of Albuquerque created the Good Neighbor Agreement.
It states the city will have an open dialogue in the form of monthly meetings with neighbors within a two-mile radius of the center.
It also says the city will monitor and clear out encampments within a half-mile radius.
Some neighbors told KOB 4 the city isn’t complying with the agreement – namely the encampment portion of the signed document. It is a situation they describe as a “never-ending battle.”
“Not even 1% of it has gotten better, it’s just gotten worse,” Jake Montoya said, who lives near the Gateway Center.
The half-mile radius was originally a quarter-mile radius, but it was bumped up in October and confirmed in a November meeting with neighbors.
“If you just take a drive, two blocks away from the Gateway center, the Gibson hospital, there’s encampments all over the streets,” Montoya said.
KOB 4 crews went out Friday and found at least two encampments within that half-mile radius. One was on Eastern Avenue and Palomas Drive SE, and the other was just a block away on Ross Avenue and Palomas. Both of those locations are about 0.3 miles away from the Gateway Center.
As the city deals with the agreement, there is also an injunction they have to comply with.
Since Nov. 1, a judge ruled that the city can’t remove homeless people or their belongings without notice.
In a statement, city officials told KOB 4 they are complying with the Good Neighbor Agreement and monitoring encampments within half a mile. They also say they’re complying with the injunction, offering people a shelter bed and the opportunity to store their belongings. If offers are refused, they’re given 72 hours to vacate.
Montoya suggests there are other options.
“I understand they kept saying about the judge. They can enforce or they can’t remove, from what I understood is, they just need to get have a place to live or stay, and they can’t throw their stuff away,” Montoya said. “Well, they can move them to a jail to a mental home and save their stuff, if they want to pick it up later.”
KOB 4 asked about the encampments that our crews saw on Palomas. City officials said that specific area is monitored daily by their encampment team. They also are encouraging residents to call 311 to report any illegal camping.
A city spokesperson with the Health, Housing and Homelessness Department shared the following statement:
“The City is complying with the Good Neighbor Agreement with our monthly dialogue with neighbors and daily monitoring of encampments within the ½ mile radius of the Gateway Center. When enforcing encampments, the City is complying with the injunction by offering people a shelter bed and the opportunity to store their belongings. If those offers are refused, a 72-hour notice to vacate is issued.”