Metro housing market squeeze creating demand for rental assistance programs
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The metro’s housing market squeeze is impacting many residents, including more than a hundred families who rely on programs that are trying to find their place amid the squeeze.
Experts point toward more businesses coming in and people leaving more expensive cities to take advantage of the lower cost of living here. Now, people who rely on rental assistance are getting priced out.
"On an annual basis, we’ll receive typically anywhere between 4,000-to-5,000 applications for maybe a couple hundred vouchers that we have available," said Linda Bridge, the executive director of the Albuquerque Housing Authority.
The housing authority currently serves around 3,200 households through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development-funded vouchers have a limit on what can be paid to landlords and rising rent is causing the vouchers to come up short.
Bridge says, depending on the area, a voucher for a two-bedroom unit covers around $1,000. To remain competitive, the authority may have to ask HUD to pay out more.
"Currently we have approximately 140 households that have housing vouchers that are in search of a unit to rent," Bridge said.
The biggest issue is a lack of supply, which is hitting the city’s most financially vulnerable the hardest.
"The City of Albuquerque, a few years back, did a study that indicated that, for very low and extremely low-income populations, there’s a shortage of 15,000 units in our city – and that was before our current rise in our housing market," Bridge stated.
Emergency rental assistance programs are available throughout the city. You can visit the Albuquerque Housing Authority’s website for more details regarding how to reach out to the landlords they work with.