ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city opened up the doors to the Gateway Center to give KRQE a peek at what’s to come. About 30% of the building is already being used by its current tenants like medical groups, serving hundreds of people a day. However, the city’s overnight services and shelter are still months away from opening their doors.

On Wednesday, Mayor Tim Keller acknowledged the building is old and needs work, “The bones are very old in here, and it’s just the realities. We knew this going in. . . We’re investing upwards of $20 million into this facility, so it can take care of thousands of people a day.”

In hard hats and safety glasses, KRQE’s Annalisa Pardo had the opportunity to tour the city’s major project. The ultimate purpose of the project is to serve the unhoused population in the area.

Guests will enter in the back of the building, away from Gibson, which is something surrounding neighbors requested. People can be referred to the Gateway Center or dropped off by a first responder. There are no requirements, like sobriety or identification, needed.

“So, it’s no barrier, and it’s 24/7. That is, like, the biggest single challenge, and the biggest single opportunity we have for the unsheltered, and even those suffering from addiction and so forth in Albuquerque,” said Mayor Keller.

Once inside, people can stay and get connected to other services or get taken to other off-site help. Most of the city’s Gateway services are under construction. There will be an engagement center for things like job training, a medical respite, a medical sobriety area, a trauma recovery center, and the overnight shelter.

“We are offering services thousands of times every year and serving hundreds of individuals in our community here,” said Gateway Administrator Cristina Parajon.

The city is adamant this is not just a warehouse with beds. They took input from the homeless community, who said they’d like to have programming, like movie nights.

Because the building used to be a hospital, the city is using the terms ‘beds’ and ‘offices’ interchangably until they iron out the exact details of the space. The building has the capacity for 1,000 beds with about 500 already being used by the current tenants.

The shelter will first open up 50 beds for women, but it will eventually have 250 beds. Another 100 beds or offices will be for the engagement center, first responder drop-off, medical sobering area, and medical respite.

The 100 beds area will open in the summer of 2023 during phase one. The other 260 beds will open with phase two, which is expected to open in fiscal years 2024 or 2025. The goal was to originally open in the winter of this year.