City makes plans for $49 million in pandemic relief – Albuquerque Journal

The city of Albuquerque plans to put about $14 million of its new American Rescue Plan Act funding toward the Gibson Health Hub in the former Lovelace hospital. (Journal file photo)

The latest round of federal COVID-19 relief is here, and the city of Albuquerque now has a plan for how to spend it.

The City Council on Wednesday voted to appropriate the $49.1 million it recently received via the American Rescue Plan Act.

Most of the funding will support facilities and services for people who are homeless.

That includes $4 million to cover “wellness motels” in 2022-2023. During the pandemic, the city has used motels as an alternative for homeless families and those who needed to be isolated from the general shelter population.

The legislation also puts $7 million toward a future youth shelter. It also has several line items for the long-awaited Gibson Health Hub. The facility — the former Lovelace hospital which is being redesigned to include a shelter and various services — will get $9.3 million for first- and second-phase improvements, plus $1.15 million to operate an on-site medical sobering center and $3.5 million specifically to build out a medical respite center to serve people who are ill or injured and have no home in which to recover.

A separate $1.6 million will go toward improvements at the city’s existing West Side shelter.

“Since the start of pandemic, cities across America have seen a tragic and rapid rise in homelessness, and it affects everyone in our city. We can’t just wring our hands over this challenge, we have to press forward and build the spaces that will provide the shelter and support people need to find stable housing and get off the street,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement.

Some of the other funded projects include:

  • $4 million for a planned Martineztown gym and community facility
  • $4.05 million for Phil Chacon Park
  • $3.5 million for the International District Library Park
  • $2 million to improve the Albuquerque Police Department’s Downtown headquarters
  • $1.5 million to remodel the APD Academy
  • $1 million for Isotopes Park improvements

The city received $108.8 million through ARPA via two separate deposits. Leaders last year allotted $60 million of it. The latest legislation appropriates the balance.

The city had in 2020 also received $150 million in federal pandemic relief through the CARES Act, most of which it spent on public safety payroll.