First of its kind housing opens up in Albuquerque

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Residents in Albuquerque have a new, more inclusive, option when it comes to affordable housing. 

PAH! Hiland Plaza gives high preference to community members who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind or Hard of Hearing. 

The 92-unit apartment complex started letting some residents in on Aug. 31, while the building was still under construction. But the official grand opening was last Wednesday.

“I feel very thrilled and hopeful because we now have a community a place that we can call home,” said Chad LeBlanc, the assistant manager of PAH! Hiland Plaza. 

PAH! Hiland Plaza is the first-of-its-kind apartment complex in the entire state, and it’s been in the works for more than 20 years. 

“We started in 1994 with an idea: We wanted to have a place for Deaf people to gather, have meetings, have events. And through the years, we started looking for grants,” said LeBlanc. 

It’s the latest project from the Deaf Culture Center of New Mexico and the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership 

“We are the developer for PAH! Hiland Plaza. So, we secured the financing, engaged with Hartman + Majewski Design Group—that was the architect of record on the project. And we also hired Jayne’s Corporation to build the apartment complex,” said Felipe Rael, executive director of GAHP, “And so [The Deaf Culture Center of New Mexico is] going to lease approximately the 2000 square foot space. And we also as part of kind of our agreement to them was we would hire Deaf or American Sign Language, fluent employees.” 

The 2000 square foot space DCCNM is leasing is the nonprofit’s new home. 

According to Rael, 2% of most commercial construction has provisions for the hearing impaired. 

“We endeavored to make 100% of the units and community spaces and public areas with those adaptations,” said Rael. 

PAH! Hiland Plaza was made for the Deaf community by the Deaf community. Residents will also be able to take part in free education events right inside the complex. 

“It’s important to us because in everyday life, we face a lot of barriers. One being a language barrier, we also have cultural barriers, we have struggles in the outside world. So, we created this space to eliminate any barriers or frustrations,” said LeBlanc. 


  • For more information on PAH! Hiland Plaza and to learn how to apply, click here. 
  • You can learn more about the Greater Albuquerque Housing Authority here. 
  • To stay up-to-date on the Deaf Culture Center of New Mexico, click here. 

Note: KOB 4 spoke to Chad LeBlanc using an interpreter.