Albuquerque says it gave proper notice before clearing homeless camp

Officials posted warnings four days before Tuesday’s clearance

By: - February 24, 2022 5:09 pm
Notices ordering residents to leave an Albuquerque encampment

Notices ordering residents to leave an Albuquerque encampment, dated Feb. 18 and setting a Feb. 22 deadline.

Albuquerque officials say they gave residents of a homeless camp four days notice to vacate before clearing it on Tuesday, despite claims otherwise by former residents.

Two days after the clearance, the city released an image with several notices that target the demolition of the Los Altos Park encampment.

The notices suggest the city gave a Feb. 22 deadline for individuals to remove their belongings from an arroyo between Interstate 40 and the homerun fence outside the east softball field at Los Altos Park.

Several residents at the park say they were told to vacate on the same day and others argue they were told the wrong date to vacate.

After an article published by SourceNM, posted Wednesday, city officials shared the eviction paperwork. Eight notices signed Feb. 18 tell people they cannot camp at the Los Altos encampment and they must remove their belongings by Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. SourceNM had sought comment from the city for the initial story, but officials did not respond until the next day.

On Tuesday, people fled the park and mutual aid groups were present to protect personal belongings, moving several shopping carts to help protect essential items like documents, tents, blankets and cooking ware.

“They never gave me a notification, nothing just told me, go. They told my wife that we had 30 minutes to pack our stuff. We have to pack our whole life right there,” Jodi Mitchel, a resident evicted during the sweep, said.

In their response, city officials said the Albuquerque Community Safety Responders and Family and Community Services conducted outreach at the campsite before it was cleared.

These groups can get people to a new place to sleep or access to a service provider for food or medical needs. Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this type of outreach is essential to prevent spread of airborne illness.

Residents recently evicted from Los Altos Park said they did not talk to any city official offering support for alternative housing, and in fact, they might not have even responded to their outreach.

“We weren’t far, we try to stay out of their hair,” Mitchel said. “Out of sight, out of mind.”

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Shaun Griswold
Shaun Griswold

Shaun Griswold is a journalist in Albuquerque. He is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna, and his ancestry also includes Jemez and Zuni on the maternal side of his family. He grew up in Albuquerque and Gallup. He brings a decade of print and broadcast news experience. Most recently he covered Indigenous affairs with New Mexico In Depth. Shaun reports on issues important to Native Americans in urban and tribal communities throughout the state, including education and child welfare.