Draft ordinance would clear homeless camps from public parks, sidewalks

Homeless camps keep popping up in public places around Albuquerque.

The city’s Family and Community Services Department is working on a system that is meant to give the homeless the help they need, and give neighbors their public parks and sidewalks back.

According to its draft ordinance, when a homeless camp on public property is reported to the city, a worker would respond and post a notice that the camp and all belongings within 15 feet of it would have to be removed within a number of days.

“It would be better so that the streets can get cleaned up, and us that live here, we can feel comfortable in our home, around our home,” Sunshine Urbina of Albuquerque stated.

Family and Community Services said an area where full, standalone shopping carts that often block medians and sidewalks could also be posted with notices.

Also, items close to highway shoulders, off-ramps or near moving vehicles are considered “immediate hazards,” and would be removed by city workers immediately.

The New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness is concerned, however, that this won’t completely solve the homeless problem.

“What we could see is these people continue to move from one place to another place to another place and until we have more affordable housing, we’re not going to be able to have a solution,” Brie Sillery, NM Coalition to End Homelessness spokesperson, said.

Family and Community Services said there’s no penalty or fine for campers who keep coming back or who don’t move after that notice is posted, but the city will bring in workers to help move them, if necessary, and direct them to outreach services or homeless shelters.

It’s then up to the city to clean any remaining garbage, hazardous items and waste.

Family and Community Services is taking public input on this draft ordinance through Friday.

There is no time frame to take it to the city council.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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