ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque city councilor Brook Bassan has reversed course on her support of sanctioned homeless camps in the city. Although she once supported the idea of safe outdoor spaces for the homeless, Bassan now says the idea needs more vetting.
“I don’t think that it is something that we need to implement at this time. I think it is important to listen to the constituents of Albuquerque and hear what they are saying, said Bassan. Now stepping back from her support for sanctioned homeless camps, Bassan says public outcry and concern as well as the fact that the plan wasn’t thought through enough led to her decision to repeal the proposal at tomorrow’s city council meeting. “I was very supportive of sanctioned encampments when I was under the impression that we would have a stronger and more capable ability to enforce the laws that currently exist,” said Bassan.
That public outcry came today after more than a dozen people gathered at Eubank and Academy to protest the encampments. Colleen Aycock, leader of ‘women taking back our neighborhoods’ saying the plan simply will not work. “There are solutions, but the solutions aren’t in tents. We need residential living situations and those living situations are number one incarceration, if you’re a criminal you need to go to jail. if you have a drug behavioral problem you need to go to a treatment facility,” said Aycock.
City councilor Louie Sanchez showed up in support of the protesters and says the city’s solution to homelessness first begins with law enforcement. “We need to unhandcuff our officers, the officers need to get to work, they need to make the arrest at the lowest levels so we can get to the individuals who need the help and the services,” Sanchez said.
Bassan agrees, saying the city needs more help from law enforcement. “We need more officers, we need the Department of Justice to leave Albuquerque because we are in compliance as a department as in a city, we need to do more for drug addiction and behavioral health treatment and services. we need to increase housing, we need to increase security for everyone in Albuquerque and that’s going to take working together,” Bassan said.
Bassan plans to introduce legislation to repeal the sanctioned encampments at Wednesday’s city council meeting.