There’s a push in city council to spend a lot of money to keep the westside emergency homeless shelter open through June.
“Having a safe and dignified place to stay is critical,” said Lisa Huval with the Department of Community and Family Services.
Now, the city is proposing to use $431,000 from the general fund and a $236,000 federal grant to help keep that shelter open through June.
“It’s funding we received from HUD and can be used for running emergency shelters,” said Huval.
The shelter usually only stays open from November to March, the cold months. During the warmer months, other shelters can fill up fast.
“When our emergency shelter is not open there’s actually not enough beds for everyone who needs it,” said Huval.
Right now, the westside shelter has about 400 beds. Huval says during the winter months about 300 of those beds are full.
“I think there’s a lot of people at the shelter who would prefer to have a bed year round, then there’s others who may be out there primarily because of the weather, and then they prefer sleeping outside when it warms up,” said Huval.
Pastor John Hill with Steel Bridge Ministries says the number of residents tends to decrease in the summer months.
“In the summer months when the weather is nice for whatever reason, they choose not to,” said Pastor John Hill with Steel Bridge Ministries.
He says he doesn’t expect the beds at the Westside shelter will be full through the summer, but he still expects other shelters to stay busy.
“There’s not enough beds, that’s correct. I don’t think the extension of the shelter is going to play much of a role in that. I think they’ll still be crowded,” said Hill.
The city says a good chunk of the $600,000 will go towards paying the staff at the shelter. They’re already working on a plan to keep the shelter open year round.
No one really knows how many homeless people are in Albuquerque. Estimates from different groups ranging from 1,000 to 5,000.