ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – City councilors are proposing even more amendments to the controversial ‘Safe Outdoors Spaces’ legislation that will do everything from limiting who can enter to how many sites could be in a council district. These bills would create city-sanctioned encampments for homeless people in specific places around the city.
Now, city councilors are proposing some key changes to the bill that would greatly restrict who could be in these camps and how many would exist throughout the city. “One of the big changes I wanted to see made is the fact that I think it’s really important that we keep everybody safe in those safe outdoor spaces,” says Louis Sanchez, Albuquerque City Councilor for District 1.
Councilor Sanchez proposed several amendments with that goal in mind, including not allowing anyone facing criminal charges or any sex offenders inside these encampments. He is also calling for everyone inside the encampments to have a government-issued ID, and that none be allowed inside his district, or city council Districts 5 and 9.
Districts 1 and 5 cover most of the northwest side of Albuquerque, district 9 covers the far east side from Eubank to Tramway covering Interstate 40. Sanchez says he doesn’t want the legislation to pass at all. The councilor for district 5 agrees and says he thinks there are other alternatives.
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“We need to enforce our loitering laws, we need to enforce our trespassing laws, we need to enforce the laws of this city,” says Dan Lewis, Albuquerque city councilor for District 5.
There are concerns that having stricter rules will deter people from going to these designated spots. City Councilors plan to discuss this legislation at next week’s city council meeting. Councilor Isaac Benton also wants to limit the number of encampments per council district from five to two.