ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Neighbors in northwest Albuquerque are on edge as a homeless encampment continues to grow near their homes. Tents and shopping carts are starting to fill up an empty field at the corner of Irving and Eagle Ranch. Nearby neighbors say they’re concerned as the encampment gets bigger.
“We do have two beautiful parks in that area, and it does concern me; we have a lot of kids in that neighborhood that utilize those parks,” Liz Hausenfleck, a resident, said.
Neighbors say the homeless are walking through nearby neighborhoods, breaking into people’s vehicles, and urinating in public. “I think it has fallen on deaf ears because the same group of people are still hanging out on the corner, and it’s gotten larger,” Hausenfleck said.
As the encampment has become larger in the last week, social media has blown up about a potential city-sanctioned homeless encampment that would take over the vacant lot. There have been more than 230 postings about this. City Councilor Dan Lewis, who runs this District, says that’s not true.
“There’s no applications for any kind of safe outdoor space in that area, so there has been some rumors going around that might be the case, but that’s absolutely not the case,” Lewis said.
He says it’s not even a possibility because City Council voted last week to pause safe outdoor spaces. But he understands people’s worries. “There’s a lot of frustration, and certainly there you have an administration that supports it, an administration that supports people living in public places in our city,” Lewis added.
Lewis says the city plans to clear out the encampment and clean the lot Wednesday morning.