Indian center offers empty lot for tiny homes for homeless

October 7, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque nonprofit that serves Native Americans offered an empty lot on its property for Bernalillo County to build its planned village of “tiny homes” for the homeless.

Officials have struggled to find a location for the project until hearing from the Albuquerque Indian Center, the Albuquerque Journal reported . District 1 County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley confirmed last week that the center has reached out to offer the vacant lot behind its building for the village of up to 30 tiny homes.

“We went to go see it and talked with them and thought this would be a very good fit,” O’Malley said. “It’s a weeded lot and idle space, so it’s not being used to its full potential. This would be a vast improvement for the area.”

The county received $2 million for the project from a voter-approved general obligation bond, but building at the Albuquerque Indian Center can save money, O’Malley said.

Instead of having to buy land, the Albuquerque Indian Center will offer a long-term lease and be contracted to provide management and operations services. The project could save on infrastructure because the property already has water, sewer and other utilities.

The Albuquerque Indian Center has bathrooms and a commercial kitchen that serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday to about 200 people. It also offers mail collection for clients, employment assistance, and behavioral health, DWI and substance abuse counseling, center executive director Mary Garcia said.

The center also owns a small building across the street from its main site that could be used to help teach skills and provide a revenue stream for the village, Garcia said.

The majority of the center’s clients are Native American, but not exclusively.

Homeless adults selected to get a tiny home “have to be in some kind of program” and heading toward self-sufficiency to qualify for the temporary housing, Garcia said.

The center’s property is zoned for high-density residential usage, such as apartment buildings. Because the design of the tiny homes has them constructed on a chassis with wheels, the property will have to be rezoned for setting up recreational vehicles, O’Malley said.

City Councilman Pat Davis, who represents the area where the center is located, has submitted paperwork for that zoning change, Garcia said. The city has to sign off on zoning changes, while the county has to approve the lease and a contract with the center for management and operations, O’Malley said.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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