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BernCo taps funds for supportive housing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — They don’t have a location yet, but Bernalillo County officials do have $8 million available to fund a new supportive housing complex for residents with behavioral health issues.

The County Commission last week voted to earmark money in the behavioral health tax pot, and staff will begin a property search for the proposed development. The county seeks either an existing apartment complex to renovate or land to build 40 to 60 new units.

The facility would provide on-site support services – including case management and maybe even a clinic – for its residents. The complex will accommodate veterans and non-veterans who are homeless or “precariously” housed and have diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional challenges, such as substance abuse issues, that “require a more intensive level of services to maintain stability,” according to a report by county staff.

The $8 million would go toward the project’s renovation or construction costs.

The commission also approved earmarking up to $1 million annually for the complex’s operations, though the county intends to apply other funding where available, including 30 federal housing vouchers designated for veterans, if approved.

Katrina Hotrum, the county’s director of behavioral health, said there is no timetable for completion yet, since it’s unknown if the county will refurbish an existing building or start from scratch.

“I think the soonest it would happen is six months to a year,” she said. “The latest I think it would be would be two years.”

LIME TIME? Electric scooter rental companies could have the OK to operate in Albuquerque by month’s end under a new permitting process announced last week.

The application for the city’s “shared active transportation” permits is now available online, and a spokeswoman for the city’s Planning Department said the goal is to complete reviews and get the first permits issued as early as March 22.

The permits apply to companies renting regular and e-scooters, regular and e-bikes and other small wheeled vehicles.

Spokeswoman Carmelina Hart said the city has been in contact with four companies – Bird, Lime, Razor and Gotcha – that have expressed interest in coming to the Duke City.

The city will charge companies a $12,000 annual operating fee, plus $1 per day per vehicle in the fleet, and $2.50 per square foot/year for the companies’ stations.

The city’s rules put a 15-mph-speed capacity on the vehicles’ electric assist. They also require operators to provide a locally based contact person and to remove any abandoned or improperly parked vehicles within 24 hours of receiving notice.

Jessica Dyer: