ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – The historic Kimo Theater in downtown Albuquerque looks good after the city cleaned up the trash and eliminated the homeless. “The main part of Central is much better than it usually looks with clothes and people lying everywhere,” said Albuquerque resident Zenda. But a few hours later, it looks very different. “There are a lot of people hanging out here, like all day, pretty much every time of the day I would say,” Arvind, who lives down the street from Kimo, said.
The city admits this is a problem area. In the past month and a half, there have been six 311 reports of people loitering and spilling near the Kimo Theater. The Albuquerque Solid Waste Department says they perform a trash sweep along this stretch every morning, Monday through Friday. And the city’s Family and Community Services outreach team offers resources for people hanging out there. But people who live downtown say it’s only a matter of hours before they return.
“They usually sleep rough or walk around asking people for money,” Arvind said. . So I just see myself walking in that direction, and coming back. It’s just kind of a complicated situation overall.
One person has been reporting the issue for more than six months, according to a recent report from 311. Some say the city is doing all it can, but others think more affordable housing would solve the problem. “I think the city needs to do a better job of providing housing for people, instead of treating people like trash and sweeping them under the rug,” said Albuquerque resident Eduardo Esquivel.
The Albuquerque Community Safety Team also helps relocate the homeless. They encourage everyone to continue to report encampments and litter through 311. If it’s a behavioral health crisis, they say call 911 or ask for ACS.