ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Hundreds of volunteers were up before the sun Tuesday interviewing the homeless in Albuquerque.
It’s part of an initiative to get people off the streets and into homes, and it comes at a time when the city is working to get rid of a big homeless camp.
That homeless camp is called Tent City and is located downtown. City officials say it’s also rampant with crime and they wants to clean it up.
Around 3:30 a.m., Mayor R.J. Berry joined roughly 200 volunteers, the non-profit group Heading Home and the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness.
Volunteers took to the streets of Albuquerque to interview the homeless. The survey asks about things like veteran status, how long someone’s been on the streets, mental health and disabilities.
This initiative was already planned, but it is timely since last week the mayor’s office said they plan on clearing out the homeless camp known as Tent City where undercover officers found prostitution, and drug dealing going on there.
The city plans on sending groups and providing the homeless with resources so they have a place to go. Those behind the survey say if they can connect with the homeless; their goal is to get people the help they need to get off the streets.
“So if they’re not accessing or they don’t need help, then we need to get to them and we need to find them and engage them and build relationships, so we can really find out how we can help,” said Jodie Jepson, deputy director of Heading Home.
Heading Home will likely help with the mayor’s initiative and visit Tent City next week. Granola bars and gift cards to McDonald’s were offered as incentives for people to complete the survey.
Heading Home expects to have the data calculated in a few weeks. The city says the Albuquerque Police Department will crack down on crime in the downtown homeless camp.
They hope to have Tent City cleaned up in the next couple weeks.