The residents of ‘Tent Metropolis’ are threatened with eviction once more »Albuquerque Journal
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The residents of the so-called “tent city” are now officially entering the house.
An Albuquerque police commander who was investigating the area between Second and Third Streets and Santa Fe and Pacific SW said Thursday that officials would publish quotes this morning and forcibly remove people later that day if they entered private property in the Barelas area .
Announcements posted on the site earlier this week gave homeless campers three days to vacate the property. The deadline expired at midnight on Wednesday. There are now metal “No Trespassing” signs on the masts, indicating certain city codes and regulations.
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About half a dozen tents and RVs were left on the premises on Thursday. Most of the people who moved onto the property from the previous campground at First and Iron SW last week accepted seven-day coupons for motel stays.
“They’ll be back in a week, be it on this site or at the First and Iron site or in front of the Albuquerque rescue mission, but they’ll be back on the road somewhere,” said Rodrigo Rodriguez. a community organizer with the SouthWest Organizing Project, one of the groups that works for the homeless residents of the “Tent City”.
Many of Tent City’s residents have been labeled “non-qualifiers,” he said. “They don’t qualify for a bed at the Albuquerque Opportunity Center, they don’t qualify for affordable housing through the Heading Home program, they don’t qualify for veterans programs and accommodations, and they don’t want to stay in formal shelters or buses West Side Shelter and then back at 5am. “
Tent inmate Kim Gallegos, 44, who did not accept a voucher, comes from the Barelas district. “I don’t need a voucher,” she said. “I need a life solution.”
Despite being homeless for many years, Gallegos said she was only recently diagnosed as schizophrenic. She refuses to take any medication and says a relative was on Prozac and killed herself. “I don’t trust medicines and I don’t buy my medicines in the pharmacy. I buy them behind the (convenience store). At least I know what I’m buying. “
Gallegos said she has no intention of packing up her campsite and would rather go to jail. “I have arrest warrants for myself anyway,” she said.
Councilor Isaac Benton, whose district includes the Barelas neighborhood, said: “The coupons are about as good as we can now.” There aren’t enough social workers looking after those who stay in motels for a week and want services, but there are also a number of homeless people who accept the vouchers and simply don’t want further contact or help.
He said he hoped the county commission would pass a tax that would add an eighth of a cent on gross income taxes, generating about $ 20 million a year for supportive housing, a centralized crisis assessment center, Overnight housing and case management could be used.
Gilbert Montaño, the mayor’s chief of staff, said Tent City residents actually have options. “The animal shelter on the West Side is not full. The homeless shelters are not full. I don’t know if they were kicked out, but there are options and they have a choice. ”Unfortunately, he said,“ they have decided not to use the existing services ”.
Montaño went on to note that the city has just made a $ 600,000 request for a 40-bed transitional housing program with comprehensive services for people with mental health problems and substance abuse who “often go hand in hand”.
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