ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s official, Safe Outdoor Spaces are moving forward in Albuquerque after another controversial vote failed in the city council chambers Wednesday evening. Last month, the city council voted to pause the city-sanctioned homeless camps for a year but the Mayor vetoed that decision. On Wednesday, councilors had the chance to override Keller’s veto but votes came up short.
It came down to a five to four vote, but six votes were needed to override the veto. Councilor Trudy Jones flipped on her original vote.
Seven appeals were filed by nearby neighbors and businesses with the city hoping to prevent safe outdoor spaces but it wasn’t enough. A handful of people protested prior to the city council meeting against the city-sanctioned homeless camps.
“It would create crime, people would wander into our neighborhoods. We really have a nice neighborhood, there were problems, but now it’s family oriented and we want to keep it that way,” Barbara Edmon, an Albuquerque resident said.
But not everyone is upset with the decision. Others came in support of the safe outdoor spaces saying it could be the solution Albuquerque needs. “I urge you, I don’t know what the solution is, but I urge you not to veto this because you don’t know if it will work because you have not tried it,” a resident said.
The city says there will be rules and regulations for the homeless encampments and they will be tracking how many Albuquerque Police Department calls go to these future spaces. As of Wednesday, two sanctioned homeless camps are approved, according to the city’s website. One at I-25 and Menaul, and another at Candelaria and Edith.
The Albuquerque’s Mayor’s Office sent this statement after Wednesday’s vote:
“We are pleased that Council upheld the Mayor’s veto. Albuquerque, as with nearly all major cities and towns across the United States, needs more tools, not less, to address the homelessness crisis while keeping our neighborhoods, parks and businesses safe. Council initially created Safe Outdoor Spaces as one tool among the many needed to help people move off of the streets, and this new approach should be allowed to go forward.”Ava Montoya, Public Information Officer for Mayor Tim Keller