GATEWAY CENTER: Next-Generation Homeless Shelter Operations in Full Swing

Albuquerque’s Gateway Center, the City’s first-of-its-kind overnight shelter with co-located services to support people experiencing homelessness, is now open to its first guests.

Though the facility offered emergency overnight shelter to men and women during the winter, it officially opened in June to serve up to 50 women at a time. Now, there are 100 beds available for women, with 35 women currently staying there.

In addition to offering overnight beds and access to a handful of services people experiencing homelessness are likely to need, each resident will also be paired with a case manager, a housing case manager, and a peer support worker to help them achieve greater stability by the time their stay ends. The facility’s webpage boasts 10 partner organizations are located on-site at the Gateway Center, offering a variety of medical and behavioral health services, as well as housing navigation and even immigration services.

Later this year, first responders will be able to take people to a receiving area at the center, and by the end of next year, a sobering center and medical respite services will come online too. Eventually, officials say, people in need will be able to get haircuts, get transportation to the clothing bank, and even get job training – all in the same place.

Facility leaders are also proud of the model’s low barrier of entry, an industry best practice. To stay at the shelter and make use of its many services, people in need won’t have to get clean or be separated from their pets, though drug use is prohibited on the site.

The Chamber has been a strong and vocal supporter of the Gateway Center, advocating for the 2019 approval of a bond to make the $14-million purchase of the Gibson Medical Center, as it was called then. It’s been a long time coming, but the success of similar models in other cities, where social services are co-located with overnight sheltering, support unhoused people in obtaining transitional and ultimately permanent housing.

We’ll be back in our next edition of News and Views with more of the latest on this milestone project, plus some exciting behind-the-scenes photos. In the meantime, you can read the Albuquerque Journal’s coverage here.

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