Navajo Nation to partner with Albuquerque to tackle homelessness

Posted at: 07/24/2014 5:37 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The city of Albuquerque and the Navajo Nation plan to partner up following the brutal murders of two Navajo homeless men over the weekend.

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly was so disturbed by the killings that he requested a meeting with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry. That meeting took place Thursday morning.

They plan to work together to come up with ways to help the homeless, especially the thousands of Native Americans who live on Albuquerque streets.

“We talked about how to build on Albuquerque Heading Home and some of the great work that we're already doing in the city of Albuquerque,” said Berry.  “But then also recognizing that there are gaps in service.”

The two leaders met to talk about the brutal murders of Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson. Police say the homeless men were beaten to death by three teenagers.

“Those people that did this, justice should prevail and they should be punished for what they've done,” said Shelly.

There’s no easy solution but the Navajo Human Rights Commission says the partnership is an important start.

“We've achieved measurable commitments and measurable outcomes from the partnerships with some of the border towns around the Navajo Nation,” said Leonard Gorman.

Shelly says he supports a bill that would make attacking homeless people a hate crime in New Mexico.

He also wants the FBI to investigate the murders to see if they were racially motivated. But at this point investigators say there is no evidence they were.