City announces new plan to tackle housing crisis in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – City officials say Albuquerque is short anywhere from 13,000 to 30,000 housing units. So the city is working on a massive plan to address that need.

The goal right now is for the city and partners to create 5,000 housing units by 2025. But to really address the need for all residents, in all income levels, the city says it’s going to take more money, commercial conversions, and changes to city zoning. 

“We’ve all been working hard on this issue but like a lot of challenges, we’re in a row boat against a tidal wave,” said Mayor Tim Keller. 

On Monday, Keller announced a new plan to address housing needs. The plan starts with more development, but goes beyond that by taking advantage of existing spaces around the city.

“We’re going to try and convert commercial office space into housing. So we’re proposing a $5 million fund to do that,” said Keller. 

To support 10 conversions of office or hotel, motel spaces.

“We also don’t even have a housing workforce to build these houses or convert these units. So we’re going to work with our programs to try and train 250 new workers that will be specifically available for housing conversion and rehab,” Keller said. 

Keller says it’s going to take way more money and resources to get people housed and make sure they stay that way. 

He says they are ramping up consumer protection, enforcing anti-discrimination laws based on source of income, cracking down on nuisance properties, and looking at other ways the city will need to evolve.

“Right now, our zoning code will never allow us to meet the housing demand in the city. So I want to be clear the status quo will never allow us to eliminate this housing challenge,” said Keller. 

He pointed to Albuquerque city councilors as the next step to really get these plans off the ground.

“We have to open up for our neighbors, of all walks of life, to be able to live and work here,” said Issac Benton, a city councilor. 

This is not a quick fix. 

KOB 4 asked about those conversions and they said, right now, they have a few hotels they’ve been talking to but there are zoning, and code issues they will have to address first.