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City of Albuquerque investing in new youth center for homeless teens

Mayor Keller (1).jpg
City of Albuquerque
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury, and city councilors were at Civic Plaza Wednesday discussing a new Youth Center for young people experiencing homelessness.

U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and city councilors gathered at Civic Plaza Wednesday to announce initial funding for a new youth center serving teens experiencing homelessness.

Officials said the center would be the first of its kind in the state and would serve people ages 18 to 25 who are experiencing housing insecurity.

In Bernalillo County alone, there are between 1,200 and 2,300 young people without stable housing. Young people often feel unsafe in adult shelters that don’t provide services aimed at their age range.

Keller said young people are the most vulnerable because they have limited resources while underage.

“The resources they can access on their own is particularly challenging. And obviously, we know that if we don't help the youth, while they're youth, as adults, they often become much more problematic for themselves and for society.”

The center is expected to cost $10 million, with $7 million coming from the American Rescue Plan and $1.5 million in federal funds Stansbury helped secure. The city is kicking in $275,000 from the general fund.

“Having the security of a roof over your head and a safe place to call home is fundamental to the development of a young person,” said Stansbury, “No child should ever have to wonder where they will sleep at night.”

City officials are still deciding on a location and whether they will buy a property and remodel or build from the ground up.

The state hopes to have young people in the facility within two years.

Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s currently a part of the Local News Fund Fellowship where she will be working with KUNM-FM and NMPBS during her 9-month fellowship where she will gain hands-on newsroom experience. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
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