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Mayor Keller, Partners Give Update on Gateway Center

Working group convening to discuss City, County, University collaboration on the Gateway Center and Homelessness

May 6, 2020

Mayor Tim Keller and officials from the City, Bernalillo County, and the UNM Health Sciences Center held a press conference to give an update on the recently formed working group on the Gateway Center.

“Last fall, voters gave mandate to step up and address homelessness with 24/7 gateway center and we have a moral opportunity to bring institutions together to make a difference,” said Mayor Keller. “We’ve brought partners together to hammer out the details on this project, including a possible combination of sites. We are continuing collaborative efforts and doing all we can with what we have to address homelessness in Albuquerque. The Coronavirus pandemic has only made it more clear that this is a critical step for community.”

In March, Mayor Keller formed a working group that is in process and has been meeting to discuss details on siting, design, construction and operation of the Gateway Center. The group is working on how to move forward in building a Gateway Center that is low-barrier, 24/7, easy access to services and transportation, and fits the Phase 1 budget approved by voters.

“The mayor stepped up very quickly and asked City departments to begin to evaluate and work out these details. That is going to begin with a joint governance group made up of the City, County, and our other partners including UNM and homeless services providers. The joint governance group is modeled sort of on criminal justice coordinating Council, where we have technical experts and decision makers in order to evaluate and give a public, transparent place for us look at those options and make those decisions,” said City Council President Pat Davis.

“The County and the County Commission have been working now for a very long time, to deal with the whole issue of continuity of care. Once you arrive to the community and you’re having certain kinds of challenges whether its homelessness or behavioral health, we have the ability to step into that process. Through the Gateway Center, which we are delighted to be associated with, it’s a very real opportunity to get hold of some of these issues early and do it well, and do it together,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Jim Collie.

“There really has been a huge amount of work on behavioral health, which touches homeless population extensively, as we go forward with developing services that are appropriate for folks utilizing the Gateway Center, we will be focused on trying to build a continuum of care for those patients and to ensure that they have access to needed services. UNM is proud to be a partner with the City and County in building out that continuum of care and establishing them service raise,” said Rodney McNease, Executive Director of Government Affairs and Behavioral Health at UNM Health Sciences Center.