ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is finally getting homeless people into its Tiny Home Village. The $4.92M village has been nearly empty since it opened in February 2021.

Village officials say after the county approved $500,000 in funding earlier this year, they are now able to run the facility with around-the-clock care. That means what was just four residents living in the village back in March is now slowly seeing some growth. “We have just started bringing in those folks this week; we brought in three new villagers this week; we’ll bring probably another 6-7 from that group in two weeks. So we are trying to do it a little bit staggered so they have a little time in between to adjust and then we’ll add more,” said Tiny Home Village administrator, Carolyn Chavez.

Two of the major hurdles the village faced earlier on in filling the 30 homes were a lack of funding for staff and the requirement that people are already sober before they move in. Chavez says the 30-day sobriety policy is now no longer part of the vetting process; however, there are still rules residents need to follow. Applicants must be willing to take part in a harm reduction or recovery program and follow rules of no drug or alcohol use within the tiny home village.

The Village administrator would not delve further into specifics on drug and alcohol use amongst residents or if the residents are monitored when they leave the campus. “The vetting process before – just the model that we were working before – was different. It was pretty high-barrier entry and pretty low-service provision when folks were here, so we are just flipping that; basically, we want to have a lower barrier to entry and a much higher level of service provision,” said Chavez.

The Village administrator says once they get through the last round of about seven applicants they have left over the next few weeks, they will reopen the application process to the village on August 1. The county hopes to have the Tiny Home Village at full capacity around early fall.