ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Thursday morning, Albuquerque police and city workers moved a group of homeless people out from underneath the Coal/I-25 bridge, where they took down boards, bagged up trash, and at one point confiscated drug needles.
The homeless camps are widespread in underpasses across the city, and while they’re an eyesore for drivers, they’re a safety concern for pedestrians.
“If my 2-year-old is walking next to me, I don’t want her picking up anything off the ground that would be a threat to her,” said Andrea Basile of Albuquerque.
“You want to be helpful to people but also you want people to be safe,” visitor Keith Russell said.
The mayor’s office said this isn’t about shooing the homeless away from a busy commuter street; it’s about getting them help.
“We go out and we do eviction notices but we don’t just do it without compassion. We take vouchers for hotels and we take connections to services,” Mayor Richard Berry said.
So why are other groups of homeless still illegally living at underpasses across the city, like one just a couple blocks away at Central and I-25?
The city said there were complaints about the one on Coal and not the others.
Additionally, groups who get eviction notices have three days to move.
Mayor Berry encourages people to download the city’s “ABQ 311” app so they can report homeless camps, which is the most effective way for city workers to check on them.