Westside Emergency Housing Center faces increased demand as winter storm hits
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Winter is always extremely busy for the Westside Emergency Housing Center. More than 500 people slept at the shelter Wednesday night.
Shelter officials say they’re not going to turn anyone away, and they have backup plans in case they do reach their capacity of 600 people.
Dozens were lined up at First and Indian School Thursday, waiting on the bus to take them to the shelter.
“I got hospitalized, I had a heart attack and stuff like that, and on thing led to another,” said Craig Campbell, who stays at the shelter nearly every night. “Until I can get back on my feet. I don’t plan on staying there very long.”
Campbell says the shelter was busy Wednesday night.
“This is one of our first winter storm weekends, so it’s a good trial run to make sure we have all the pieces in place that we need,” said Katie Simon with the city’s Health, Housing and Homelessness department.
According to Simon, there were about 515 people at the shelter Wednesday night.
“The city has ongoing emergency operation plans so there’s always a few kind of backups, empty facilities we aren’t using or places like that, that we could turn to if we really needed,” Simon said.
The last bus to the shelter is at 8 p.m. daily. If someone needs a ride after that, they can call 911 and request one from Albuquerque’s Community Safety Department. Simon says they added a graveyard shift weeks ago.
“They’re really helping out with those transports when we need them to and making sure that people get connected to the things they need overnight while the offices are closed,” Simon said.
Campbell says while he wishes he still had a place to call his own, he doesn’t mind a warm bed at the shelter.
“It’s hard, especially when you don’t have a job right now,” Campbell said. “I’ve always worked my whole entire life. You just gotta do what you gotta do.”