Albuquerque city councilor wants more transparency on plans for homeless shelter

Politics - Government

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque city councilor says she has no idea what’s going on with the mayor’s plans to build a new homeless shelter. Now, she wants more transparency and more urgency on the city’s Gateway Center.

In a new resolution, City Councilor Brook Bassan says it’s unfair to keep taxpayers waiting and in the dark after they approved $14 million for the new shelter. “Let’s use it. Let’s start something, but let’s make sure to do it while we have a really good plan. Not just, get money, sit on it, and question what we’re going to do with it for a while,” she says.

Councilor Bassan is sponsoring this resolution that says the Homeless Coordinating Council was formed back in June to discuss the details of the proposed campus the mayor calls the Gateway Center. Because of the pandemic, Bassan says city council has been kept out of the loop when it came to updates and what was discussed within the Homeless Coordinating Council.

With this resolution, Bassan is hoping to finally get the ball rolling on putting the voter-approved money to use. “Maybe it is the only gateway. Maybe it’s not. What we need to know is getting a report from it so that all the councilors and the public can hear a little bit more about it,” she says.

While no locations for the shelter have been decided yet, Bassan says she believes the city will spend the money to build a handful of smaller shelters instead of one large one. Right now, the city says it’s eyeing two locations, one at the Gibson Medical Center and another at an unspecified location north of downtown.

Deputy Director of Family & Community Services, Lisa Huval, says they understand the urgency for this project but were unable to give us a timeline of when we can expect plans to be unveiled or construction to start. The mayor’s plans suffered a major setback earlier this year after the University of New Mexico rejected the idea of putting the homeless shelter next to its medical facilities near Lomas and University.

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