ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People living and working near Albuquerque’s Wells Park neighborhood are fed up with the growing homeless problem. They believe a local shelter is to blame.
“There’s threats of violence against the people that are there. The residents that have the property around that. There’s destruction of property,” says Attorney Blair Dunn.
Back in July, Dunn sent a letter on behalf of the nearby business owners threatening to sue the city if the mayor didn’t fix the problem. Now, they are keeping their word by suing the St. Martin’s Hospitality Center off Third St. and Mountain.
“This isn’t to knock St. Martin’s completely. They are trying to do good, but sometimes you do more harm than good. You draw these people down and you’re not giving them what they need,” he says.
While St. Martin’s provides services for the homeless, Dunn says their help is only temporary and doesn’t give long term solutions to the problem. “St. Martin’s needs to be more cognizant of the fact that they are imposing a burden on their neighbors,” he says.
With this lawsuit, Dunn hopes St. Martin’s and the city figure out a solution that works for both homeless people and the long-term residents of the Wells Park neighborhood. “They probably need to re-locate some place where they’re not imposing. That becomes an issue the city needs to weigh in on,” he says.
Back in July, the city told KRQE News 13 business owners should support Mayor Tim Keller’s plan on building a new homeless shelter, rather than threatening a lawsuit. The city and St. Martin’s did not respond to our request for comment.
Earlier this year, Albuquerque Police started to crack down on homeless people being in places they shouldn’t be by giving them citations. APD has said that is their last resort and they prefer to point them to services instead.
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