Tiny Homes Village administrators are seeking to redirect $500,000 in county funds to cover 24-hour cases and staff as the transitional housing site plans to ramp up operations.
“It’s just to help with regular operations,” village superintendent Carolyn Chavez said Wednesday. “The amount of money we are operating with right now is enough for the current number of villagers, but as we grow, obviously we need to increase that funding as well.”
There are currently four residents of Tiny Homes Village, which was built for nearly $5 million and opened in February 2021 with 30, 120-square-foot, self-contained homes and common buildings for restrooms, showers, kitchens, bathrooms, and more. laundry and meeting spaces.
Since then, the village has never had more than eight inhabitants at a time. The 2021 pinpoint survey counted approximately 1,560 housed and unhoused homeless people living in Albuquerque. There are currently 65 applications from residents that village administrators are waiting to review until the additional funds are allocated, Chavez said.
The half-million-dollar funding will come from the county’s Behavioral Health Initiative, said Charlie Verploegh, deputy director of the initiative. Specifically, the money will be made available by reallocating $500,000 of the $1 million allocation to community engagement teams.
“Once we started running this (community engagement) program, we realized we could run it with $500,000,” Verploegh said. “We currently have a contract with Youth Development Incorporated, or YDI, to run this program. We realized we just didn’t need a million to run community engagement teams, although we’d love to have that many. But there just isn’t enough money for everyone, and the Tiny Homes Village really needs it, so we’re moving it.
Technically, Behavioral Health doesn’t need permission to move the money, Verploegh said, but in the interests of transparency, the matter will be brought before the Bernalillo County commission on March 29.
Last November, a county spokesperson said it may have been too difficult to find acceptable residents for the transitional housing community due to the strict requirements, and that these may need to be reworked.
Chavez said the reassessment process was complete, “and we are still fine-tuning the final version.” One of the requirements that has changed is that people with addictions will no longer have to be in recovery for 30 days to be accepted as residents.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t have certain recovery and damage reduction requirements and that kind of thing, but we’re not going to require them to be in recovery for 30 days,” Chavez said.
Guidelines that remain in place include disqualification of potential residents if they have extreme behavioral or mental health issues that prevent them from living independently, if they are registered sex offenders or have been convicted of sex crimes . Residents must also agree to participate in a multitude of tasks to maintain the property.
The Tiny Homes Village is located on a formerly weed-strewn lot behind the Albuquerque Indian Center at 105 Texas SE. Never intended as an emergency shelter, residents can stay in the village for up to two years while they are surrounded by social services, find employment, and become independent and financially stable enough to move out and afford their own accommodation.