City, county officials meet to address homelessness in Albuquerque

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – Until the Gateway Center opens, city and county officials are trying to help find homes for people who are on housing assistance.

“It’s my concern that we are at a crisis point you know as was mentioned earlier – we have no place to move folks out of transitional housing at this point and safe outdoor spaces are one of those transitional housing we are looking at,” said Debbie O’Malley, county commissioner.

For folks who are on housing assistance and trying to find an apartment – they keep finding themselves outbid.

“Our program participants are noticing they are not able to get in with the fair market rents published at 100%,” said Betty Valdez, Housing Authority executive director.

As rental prices continue to rise across the metro the county is trying to keep up with its housing programs. Currently, on housing assistance, they can only offer a 100% market rate – that’s around $820 a month for a one-bedroom. But they are struggling to find landlords that will accept that, so now they are considering offering a 110% market rate – that’s over $900 a month.

“Increasing it across the board so our program participants have a competitive edge out in the marketplace right now because as we all know, they are getting turned away it’s hard enough finding a rental,” said Valdez.

While many projects are in the works like the Gateway Center and the Hope Village, it’s going to take time before those are open.

“As I said we are in a crisis so I think we need to step it up a lot,” said O’Malley.