ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Almost eight months into the construction at the Gateway Center, the City of Albuquerque has posted a video of a tour of the homeless shelter and so-called Gibson health hub. Despite construction starting last August, it’s clear they still have a lot of work to do before wrapping up the first part of construction in May.
“This is going to be a space to provide medical care to folks who are experiencing homelessness, who don’t have a safe space to recover from surgery or wounds, a broken arm, or anything that is very difficult to do while someone is living on the street,” says Albuquerque Family & Community Services spokesperson, Katie Simon. In a ten-minute video, the city describes the vision of wrap-around care at the Gateway Center, which will also include treatment for behavioral and addiction issues.
Soon, with the first phase almost complete, the hub’s first 50 overnight beds and engagement center will help house people who are experiencing homelessness. “The benefit of having the engagement center just steps away from where people are sleeping means it will be easier for someone to meet with a case worker, get a haircut, get an ID, apply for food stamps, or anything else that they need to work on to get back on their feet,” says Simon.
The city says it hopes to eventually house 350 people a year – with stays of up to 60 days. “We are going to have a dressing area here on this side for folks to be able to get ready and present themselves. Here we’ll have our showers; as you can see, the showers are really coming along,” says Simon. The video shows the changing areas, showers, and sleeping quarters still need a lot of work.
The video also shows piles of beds, dressers, and nightstands that have arrived. “We have three sleeping areas which will have about 20 beds each. There will be a couple of rooms if someone needs to stay overnight, until another shelter is open in the morning, or just needs to wait for transportation,” says Simon.
The city has spent more than $20 million so far to buy and fix up the old hospital. There is no word yet on what the total cost will be. The city says it expects to begin construction on its Sobering Center this spring with the hope of opening in the fall.