ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city has revealed how it plans will operate its 24/7 homeless shelter but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Separate entrances for men, women and families. Metal detectors, security cameras and round-the-clock admittance in some cases. Those are just a few examples of the preliminary plans outlined for the Gateway Center at Gibson Health Hub, an overnight shelter for the homeless inside the old Lovelace hospital.
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The idea has been controversial from the start and nearby neighborhood associations said there are still missing pieces to the plan. “It’s really thin and it lacks the detail we were hoping to see at this point in the game,” said Rachel Conger Baca with the Siesta Hills Neighborhood Association.
The operation plan for the Gateway Center at Gibson Health Hub does not say how many people will be allowed to stay at the shelter or how many beds there will be.
Sty officials say they still don’t have an answer. “Our hope is to have an answer by the end of this month,” said Lisa Huval, the City’s Deputy Director for Houses and Homelessness.
People referred by police, first responders and hospitals will be admitted around the clock. Those from other organizations will be accepted from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. The plan says there will be 24/7 security but it relies on the expansion of the Albuquerque Police Department substation at Kathryn and Louisiana. It does not allocate more officers to the area.
“To us says that they’re not planning on adding any kind of resources for security and that concerns us because we already have a police force here in zone six that is maxed out. They don’t have enough officers and they have trouble responding to the number of calls we have already and we foresee there are going to be a lot more calls once this place comes in,” said Conger Baca.
There will be a shuttle to take people to and from the shelter but it’s not clear where they will be dropped off when they leave. Nearby neighbors said they already deal with homeless people camping out in their parks and empty buildings. The city said they also have a plan for that. “We’ll daily check the radius of the Gibson Health Hub to make sure there are no encampments in the immediate area,” said Huval.
Neighbors said they wish the city had finished a road audit and a transit study for bus routes before releasing these plans. “What we wanted from the city was good stewardship and due diligence and we haven’t seen any of that,” said Conger Baca. City officials are touring similar facilities in Arizona to see how they operate.