ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County is having a hard time finding people to stay at the Tiny Home Village complex off east Central which serves as transitional housing for the homeless. The county just spent $4.92 million to build the facility and as homeless encampments keep popping up all over the city, the largest is right outside the Tiny Home Village.

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“There is a commitment on the part of the people who come to the village they have to be committed to this and have the desire to succeed, ” Bernalillo County Spokesperson, Tom Thorpe said.

The village was one of the county’s answers to the growing homeless crisis in Albuquerque, but less than a year after the Tiny Home Village opened in the International District, 25 of the 30 homes are empty as nearby streets are lined with tents. “You have to come in having been free of drugs and alcohol right now. It’s 30 days although we are trying to amend that. Then you have to stay drug and alcohol-free while you’re there,” said Thorpe.

In addition to following the rules, residents have to pitch in and help around the complex. Thorpe stresses the Tiny Home Village is not a homeless shelter, but a transitional housing center meant to get the homeless back on their feet, however, a lot of applicants don’t make it past the vetting process.

“A lot of people don’t. We’ve gone through some and some having trouble meeting the requirements and we get that that’s going to happen like anything else, said Thorpe.”

The city is building its new Gateway Center at the old Lovelace Hospital on Gibson, which will serve as a shelter and offer treatment and other services to the homeless. As for the encampments popping up everywhere, KRQE News 13 asked the city’s Solid Waste Department how it goes about dealing with those camps. 

“We’re doing everything that we are staffed for and what we can handle at this point but there is also a process that we have to follow we do have to give them the notice, we do have to assess the encampment, we have to offer them services through family community services and then we proceed,” Solid Waste Director, Matthew Whelan said.

Solid Waste gives the campers a 72-hour notice. They estimate they clear out about 25 camps a week. However, they say most of them spring back up in a week or so.