First “safe outdoor space” approved in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The city gave the green light to a “Safe Outdoor Space” app on Wednesday – the first space in Albuquerque to be approved.

The Albuquerque City Planning Department has approved the location on Menaul near the Big-I, which means homeless people will be allowed to live there. The space is approved for 40 tents and 50 people.

The organization that will oversee it says it will adapt the space to women only.

The Albuquerque City Council will discuss a moratorium on the application process for safe outdoor spaces on Monday. However, this will not impact the Approved Space’s ability to move forward.

KOB 4 learned on Wednesday that the women who live there will be responsible for cleaning and ensuring the security of the property. They hope to start moving into tents and other infrastructure in 30 to 45 days.

“It’s a great example of what happens when all four table legs work together. And I mean the city, the county, the business community, the religious community, and nonprofit organizations,” said Brad Day, a retired business owner from Albuquerque. “If we don’t start helping homeless people get off the streets, it’s not going to stop, it’s just going to get worse.”

But, how will these spaces differ from what people currently see in Coronado Park?

Leaders have repeatedly said that these spaces are not lawless encampments like Coronado Park, some view them as a response to these types of encampments.

These spaces will include an approval process for entering, rules and a curfew in some cases once you are inside, and municipal services on site.

“Places like Coronado Park are completely unacceptable and very dangerous for most who live there, and we need to create safer and more secure spaces for people trying to get back to normal life,” Elizabeth said. Holguin with the Albuquerque Department of Family and Community Services.

At present, there are four applications for safe outdoor spaces, and only the Menaul site has been approved so far.