Growing number of New Mexico landlords unwilling to accept vouchers

[anvplayer video=”5080491″ station=”998127″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A growing number of New Mexico landlords are unwilling to accept transitional housing vouchers.

Housing is an essential step in getting folks off the streets, and there are many different programs to help people.

This fiscal year, the city of Albuquerque will dedicate more than $11 million to the Supportive Housing Voucher Program. An amount that could serve an estimated 1,000 households.

“Households choose an apartment that they would like to live in and then if the landlord accepts them as a tenant, the household pays 30% of their income towards the rent and then the voucher helps to pay for the rest of the rent,” said Lisa Huval CABQ deputy director of Housing and Homelessness.

Huval says the pandemic has strained the rental market. There are fewer openings and landlords have become more selective.

“I have a complex where we’ve traditionally housed quite a few of our veterans and I have five veterans right now who are going to be displaced by the end of the year,” said Jewel Kessler-Fike.

KOB 4 heard from Kessler-Fike in charge of transitional housing at the Veterans Integration Center earlier this month. She says those with vouchers, of any kind, are becoming harder to place.

“Multiple apartment complexes are getting bought out by corporations and they’re becoming less local. Those places are not wanting to accept vouchers not from the VA, not from Section 8, not from anywhere. So people are becoming displaced,” said Kessler-Fike.

Huval with the city says there are no laws right now requiring landlords or property owners to accept vouchers. But the city is hoping to change that at the state level.

Among the city’s legislative priorities for this upcoming session–they’re looking to prohibit discrimination based on source of income, or government assistance.

“I do think this continues to be a challenge, but it is one that our non-profit partners seem able to meet up to this point,” said Huval