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District 6 Newsletter

Updates from City Councilor Pat Davis
March 06, 2019

A New Direction on Homelessness

For years, our area has lacked a comprehensive strategy for helping those experiencing homelessness and the associated issues involving behavioral health, economic opportunity and basic health care.

But last week I joined Mayor Keller, County Commissioner Pyskoty, & County Manager Morgas Baca at our Westside shelter for a big announcement alongside our staffs and ABQ Heading Home.

Partnering with the County, our shelter will now stay open year-round, and begin providing 24-hour care.  New partnerships with UNM mean health care will soon be available on-site.  In addition, APS's homeless program now brings programs to the shelter for homeless students.

That's all thanks to new collaborations between our new Mayor's Office, Bernalillo County, and UNM.

Thanks to smart planning by staff at the City and County, the City Council and County Commission stepped up to add $536,000 to homeless shelter operations and services.

That is in addition to the 18 programs now available thanks to the County's behavioral health tax, and dozens of City programs available as well. Read ABQ Journal article here.

I'm particularly proud of two of those programs I've led from my council office:

$250,000 to continue and expand the Homeless Opportunity Court in Metropolitan Court (2016). 

  • Funds for this speciality court were cut during Gov. Martinez's budget cuts to courts. I added a special appropriation to the City's budget to continue and expand it.  To date, more than 100 graduates who were formerly homeless obtained services instead of incarceration, graduating with housing and job support - without a criminal record.
  • Read More, "A way off the streets," ABQ Journal, Oct. 2017
  • Read More, "Program helps homeless reintegrate into society," ABQ Journal, May 2017

$150,000 for housing vouchers for homeless inmates of MDC (2018)

  • Partnering with Bernalillo County, I passed legislation (R-18-76, Davis) dedicating $150,000 in housing vouchers to the county's re-entry resource center.
  • For the first time, no one has to leave our jail without access to housing - that's a big deal for those who were formerly dropped off on the streets without possessions or a place to go. 

With a stable home, even for a few days, formerly incarcerated homeless don't have to worry about housing and can focus on attending medical appointments, signing up for services and working towards breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Next Steps: A Homeless Services Campus

In the short term, cooperation between the City, County, UNM and APS to provide shelter, basic healthcare, and services is a big start.  But a long-term solution takes your support.

Every two years, the City's GO Bond program is submitted to voters for approval.  The City Council just concluded our first round of public hearings on that package, which included a $7 million request from Mayor Keller to begin work on homeless campus and triage services. 

Some councilors' competing proposals reduced that funding significantly to free up funds for other projects. We deferred a vote on this package until after the legislative session, but we will need your support then.  

I believe homelessness must be a top priority for our city and I have requested amendments to restore capital funding for homeless services. You can help by following these hearings and speaking up at our meetings in support.

Progress on Plastic Ban Bill

Albuquerque's Clean & Green Retail Ordinance (O-19-48, Sponsored by Davis, Benton, Gibson, Borrego) passed it's committee hearing (thanks to all who showed up!) and had a first debate at City Council last month.  More than 40 individuals signed up to speak on the bill - an overwhelming majority in support.

The bill was deferred until April 18 pending the completion of a fiscal impact study.  As sponsors, Councilors Benton, Gibson, Borrego and I have been meeting with local restaurants and suppliers to identify the true cost of replacing plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam containers with more sustainable options.  The next time you visit a local store or your favorite restaurant, ask them about their sustainable options and let them know you support local sustainable businesses.

Legislation to Watch

Stay up-to-date with legislation I'm sponsoring and following.

Recent Legislation

Electric Scooters are coming to Albuquerque. 
After passing legislation last year to create rules and regulations for shared transportation (electric scooters and bikes), the City rolled out our permitting process last week.  The first permits are expected to be issued on March 22, just in time for warmer weather. Watch KRQE news story on it here.