New Mexico Supreme Court to address clearing homeless encampments

New Mexico Supreme Court to address court order on homeless people

The state's high court will weigh in on a contentious issue that has reached a fever pitch on our city streets.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the City of Albuquerque’s work to clear encampments belonging to homeless people.

Earlier this year, a judge ruled to limit the city’s actions. The judge ruled city workers illegally tossed people’s belongings from public property.

In the meantime, the cleanup process is still playing out in the streets of Albuquerque.

Now, it’s coming to a head in an argument in front of justices in the state’s high court.

Civil rights advocates argue there is no place for them to go. They also argue there is a housing crisis and a few feasible short-term options.

The city says they always offer people shelter first.

Part of the claim is that the Westside shelter is a mess. A court filing shows black mold, bed bugs, and busted showers – among other problems.

The city says they are working on improving that space to try and get people there.

Maria Wolfe, the city’s Homeless Innovations officer, says city employees have had training on how to interact with homeless people since the legal challenge started.

However, people on the street say they are hearing their own version of the legal battle, and there’s clearly a lot of mistrust.

“They’re not allowed to touch a homeless person’s belongings – that they don’t have purpose to come and mess with us anymore. Because honestly, I feel like the city people that come tell us to leave – honestly enjoy throwing our stuff our way,” one person told KOB 4.

Arguments are set to start at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It will be livestreamed here.