By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
With Albuquerque’s mayoral runoff on the home run and the partisan jabs going back and forth, we asked a few shelter guests whether they thought the new administration would make any difference in services provided by the city to the homeless population. They were also asked what they would like to see the new mayor do.
One woman said, “Politicians and lawyers are just like addicts. They lie, deceive, manipulate and are conniving. They set their own stage and are their own directors arranging as they please.”
She added they are only doing the bare minimum amount of work necessary.
While I look forward to working with the new administration, he fears that not much will change.
I’ve lived in Albuquerque for over 30 years, and nothing seems to change when it comes to the homeless. The number of homeless and hungry people is on the upswing, as is panhandling and addiction. Politicians come and politicians go, but it seems that an ever increasing number of homeless and hungry people we will have with us for ever.
Another woman said the new mayor needs to realize that the homeless population of Albuquerque are human beings.
Another guest said she doesn’t believe the election of the new mayor will mean any changes or additional help for the homeless.
However, she continued, “I would like to see more done both for families and health care. Seems like as soon as they know you are homeless, there is less they want to do for you.”
One guest said the new mayor will need to “seek God,” and make sure all his decisions are for the good of the community.
She added, “I do not know … about government issues, except what I hear is not good..”
This guest said we need to “clean up our homeless by cleaning out our streets. Nobody should have to live the way they are living and sleeping on the streets. If we get everyone (who wants to be) off the streets, it will be cleaner and safer. Giving somebody something to live or take care of.”
This person opined that she would like to see the new mayor provide more education, starting with first grade and continuing to college. School education is as important as street education … Thank God there are places like Joy Junction.”
I wondered what Keller and Lewis have planned for the homeless. A spokesman for Keller directed me to his campaign website which details his position statement.
Part of that plan reads, “I will prioritize anti-poverty, behavioral and mental health, diversion, and more ‘housing first’ programs in coordination with the county and local housing authority, including supportive-housing units for addicts and the chronically homeless.”
A subsequent call asking for a personal comment was not responded to.
The Lewis Campaign did not respond to requests for comment, and I was unable to find anything related to homelessness on his website.