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After scoring 30 locations on such criteria as cost and transportation access, the city of Albuquerque has announced the top three options for its new 24/7 homeless shelter – and it is leaving open the possibility that it might choose more than one.
The Gateway Center finalists are:
• University of New Mexico land next to the state laboratory (near Interstate 25 and Camino de Salud)
• Coronado Park at Third Street and Interstate 40
• The former Lovelace hospital on Gibson
The Gateway Center has been described as a place to accommodate about 300 people and direct clients to resources they could use to obtain permanent housing. It has also been billed as a replacement for the city’s existing shelter on the far West Side.
But officials from the city’s Family and Community Services Department said Thursday that many shelter details are not yet set. That means there is a chance the city creates multiple smaller shelters at different locations and keeps the West Side location open for overflow purposes.
“All these options remain on the table,” Lisa Huval, the city’s deputy director for Housing and Homelessness said.
As part of the report identifying the finalists, the city included three “conceptual site plans” for the UNM site, but none of the others – something that generated questions Thursday during a joint government board meeting of officials from the city, Bernalillo County and Albuquerque Public Schools.
“To me, looking at this report … I’m seeing this decision has been made – this is where you want it,” City Councilor Brook Bassan said of UNM.