ABQ attorney files petition to stop ‘Tent City’ evictions

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The city says it’s done what it can and now it wants them out. Thursday, it will file eviction notices to those still living in “Tent City.” Yet, there could be something standing in their way. An Albuquerque attorney filed a petition, Wednesday, to let the homeless stay.

“It’s like these people are between a rock and a hard place – literally – between the fence and the curb here and, yet for some reason the city wants to get them out of here. I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense,” says attorney Joseph Coffey.

A judge is expected to make a ruling Thursday.

The city has been making frequent visits to Tent City to let people know what resources are available to them and offering those services to ensure “residents” make it into shelters, inpatient treatment facilities or detox centers.

Albuquerque police have also been patrolling the area at First and Iron after reports of crime. They say they’ve made several arrests for offenses like drugs and prostitution.

As of Wednesday, the city had not seen the petition.

While some are trying to block the city’s efforts, some who live there say they’re ready to leave. Some have taken up residency at “Tent City” for up to a year or more. They say it’s a tough life, but felt they had few other options.

“I was scared to get out, too, because this is all I know. This is all I know is the hustle the street and it’s scary, you know, but change is good,” says Faith Flores.

Flores says she’s been a functioning drug addict all her life. She’s divorced, lost custody of her daughters and says she had no where else to go.

Now, with the city coming in to clear out “Tent City,” people like Flores are welcoming the move. She says St. Martin’s gave her a voucher – 10 days at a motel. Flores says she’s already been detoxing from heroine on her own. Now, with the guarantee of 10 days off the street, Flores hopes she can move forward with her recovery and clean up her life.

She says the thought of starting over is scary, but so is the alternative. Flores says she doesn’t understand why people are resisting the move.

“This is what everybody wanted. They wanted help. Now that they’re getting help, they don’t want to budge, they don’t want to move, they don’t want to do their part. It don’t make sense. It don’t make sense,” Flores explains.

It’s unclear as to the exact time the city wants people like Flores packed up and gone, but Flores left Tuesday.

Flores says she’s been homeless for five years. Before “Tent City,” she says she lived outside with blankets.

The city says its goal is to landscape the area and, eventually, create what’s known as an Innovation Trail, where people can walk from the Rail Yards to downtown.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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