ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the city waits for permission to turn the old Lovelace hospital into an overnight shelter, Albuquerque officials are looking to accommodate up to 100 individuals and 25 on-site. There’s been a lot of concerns over the future Gateway Center. Mayor Keller at one time anticipated the shelter at the former Gibson Medical Center could have up to 300 beds. Some neighbors said that was far too many.
Ivan Wiener shares, “I think there’s definitely a middle ground. We have already told the city that we agree with people needing services, but it can’t be more than 50-75 beds in this place.”
But now, those plans could be changing. The numbers are not final but the city says they’re expecting the shelter to house up to 100 people and 25 families.
One woman KRQE spoke with says this is a good first step to getting the help they need. “Now there seems to be no services and we have all these people who really need intensive, behavioral, and mental health intervention that aren’t receiving any of it,” says Suzan Gordon.
In a recently released operating plan, the city said people at the Gateway Center will be referred by police, first responders, and hospitals and will be admitted around the clock.
Leaders with the city say there will be 24-7 security. “We’ll daily check the radius of the Gibson Health Hub to make sure there are no encampments in the immediate area,” says Lisa Huval, the Deputy Director of Housing and Homelessness.
City officials say a ‘family’ will be defined as four people. On September 21, the city will hold a hearing to get a “conditional use” permit for the project.