Construction of an emergency 24-hour homeless shelter on property owned by the University of New Mexico is generating opposition from a nearby neighborhood.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has pointed to a site north of Lomas Boulevard NE and south of Indian School Road as a likely location for the new shelter.
In a press conference at the site, the Mayor commented, “I want to note that this is nowhere near the campus. It’s on UNM land, but it is very far from the campus and so we want to kind of debunk that myth.”
But residents living in the nearby Spruce Park neighborhood have said that the location for the proposed shelter is too close to both the main UNM campus as well as their own homes.
In response, the Spruce Park Neighborhood Association has issued a statement condemning using the UNM property to build the shelter.
As planned, the shelter, which will be called the Gateway Center, would house around 300 beds and also have on-site staff and counseling services to help those residing in the facility.
Funding for the project is coming from some $14 million in bonds approved by Albuquerque voters last year.
City officials have acknowledged that if opposition to the UNM site proves too enduring, a site elsewhere will have to be found. At issue is finding a location that could be regarded as accessible to homeless individuals in the downtown and UNM vicinity.
By Garry Boulard
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