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Group proposes permanent Albuquerque 'Tent City'

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The city of Albuquerque is hoping more money will help the homeless situation in Albuquerque. On Tuesday, the city announced more than $2 million for new homeless services as the debate begins on whether to embrace a permanent Tent City or not.

A fourth Tent City has popped up in Albuquerque on I-25 and Lomas. Homeless advocates say they have a solution, but it's not what the city has in mind.

Mayor R.J. Berry said, "We have programs that work. We have folks that take these dollars and leverage them."

Six new contracts, totaling $2.05 million, would help house and feed the homeless and treat mental illness. The city funding will benefit non-profits such as St. Martin's Hospitality Center, First Nations Community Health Source and Roadrunner Food Bank.

Meantime, the group ABQ Justice wants to sponsor an official Tent City encampment with wash stations, portable toilets, a social square and community mercantile. The village would even have its own council.

Steve Kramer with ABQ Justice, said, "It can be a really positive thing that we can be proud of, but it's going to take active engagement and not just contracting out of services."

But Berry isn't sold on the idea. "At this point, I haven't found the research, I haven't found the data to convince me as a mayor that that's the best solution," he said.

Berry said the city is reviewing ABQ Justice's 20-page proposal.

The state is in the process of evicting the homeless from the current Tent City.


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