ABQ Shelters Dump Off Single, Vulnerable, Homeless Women

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As we end the year and reflect upon the great strides made in equality for same-sex couples, let us remember that there are people who are still oppressed. Over the last few weeks I have had conversations with a homeless woman and another woman who was homeless less than a year ago. They both told a story of how single homeless women are discriminated against and victims of unspeakable abuse. They opened my eyes to an invisible problem that plagues equal rights all over our great state. These women are forgotten and ignored by the mainstream media. Their voices need to be heard.

The first woman that I spoke with is currently homeless. She was hungry and begging for food at McDonalds. The person that I was with gave her some food and we listened to her story. She was unable to get into a shelter that night. The shelter “dumped” her off at the corner of Yale and Central. She said that most shelters turn her away and she fends for herself the best that she can. That night she was being followed by a man who was threatening to harm her. There was nothing that she could do about it because the police would never respond to this. She said that she was used to it and would make it through the night.

That evening I tweeted my experience to my followers. A woman responded and said that the situation was normal. Here is the conversation (names removed for safety):

@dailyloco: “A homeless woman said that the shelters are out of space in ABQ…Where are they supposed to go? They are people too!”

Woman: “That is no surprise. Especially single women w/o children. I was homeless one year ago. Went to a shelter. Should have got a tent.”

Woman: “Everything is geared towards men and families. Shelters dump people off downtown at 5 in the morning. In the cold. In the dark.”

Woman: “and even when it’s 10 degrees outside, you are dumped off at ATC or the missions. Only thing, ATC ain’t open at 5a.m.”

@dailyloco: “That’s what she told me. She said that the shelter dumped her off. That is unacceptable and needs to change.”

Woman: “The lack of shelters in the city limits is depressing. Even worse the lack of shelters for women period. We are most vulnerable.”

Woman: “They don’t care. Something about contracts with the city/county. As soon as I found a job, I moved into a motel.”

My mind began racing after this conversation. What is wrong with our world? Is anybody fighting for these defenseless women? How do we spend $100’s of million on road work that saves us 10 minutes on our commute while ignoring the needy? The only difference between me and the homeless is that I have a support structure to fall back on. When I make a mistake, I have somebody to turn to. They don’t have anybody. They made a mistake and ended up on the street. I cannot imagine how hard it is to get off the streets once you are there. I have the utmost respect for the woman who responded to my tweet. She is an inspiration and a voice that we need to hear.

Please take the time to think about how we can fix this problem. Nobody deserves to live on the streets and have no idea where their next meal will come from. The homeless women are targets for violence and rape. They need a shelter specifically for women. I have ideas, but want to hear what you have to say about the issue.


  1. h. gearhart says:

    I cant believe Ive never seen this BlogSpot before today! Regarding your piece on ABQ homeless shelters and the disparity in womens services… Yes, there is a huge gap in services rendered between the sexes. In fact, the Albuquerque Rescue Mission has been trying to come up with a better plan that would greatly benefit women. That same plan would wind up changing the standard of service for anyone in need when 100% completed. They’ve been studying an all-inclusive campus model based on an operation in California which has had great success. This project has been a dream for the ARM for several years. However, it has been difficult to sell the general public and local government on the plan. Donations of property and raising funds for something of this scale is exceedingly difficult. An endless sea of red tape and other barriers has made sure nothing has even thought of getting off the ground. There is a considerable amount of funding provided for disadvantaged services across the city, but it really needs to go to one-stop shopping for the clients. As it stands, services are disjointed and many “services” are actually referrals to other agencies for help that repeat the referral process over again. It leads in a circle of tail chasing and frustration. Please contact the ABQ Rescue Mission, specifically the Big Boss Man Pastor John Hill and the director of the Womens Department Marie Robinson. They will make time to share with anyone who will listen (and possibly spread the word, or that maybe can help!) about whats needed to serve the underserved in the best way possible, as well as tell you all about their grand vision to help all who are in need in the best fashion possible with as little difficulty while doing so. Its really an awesome, totally workable plan they want to implement. I encourage anyone interested to contact Pastor Hill and Marie!

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I apologize for taking so long to reply. I had to take time off from writing for a while. I will definitely reach out to the ABQ Rescue Mission. Homelessness is unacceptable and we need to do everything in our power to help those in need.

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