Leaders propose city-county partnership to help tackle housing crisis 

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Renters across the metro have gotten used to rate hikes in recent years.

“Each year it’s been between $50 and $70 bucks maybe,” said Jacob Salazar, a renter in the Sawmill District. “With the exception of this last year because that happened two times.”

“Me and a lot of people, young people, are not able to find stable housing. It’s not affordable,” said Anna Lee Desaulniers, an organizer with the People’s Housing Project. “Even working full-time, if you look at what New Mexicans are making, and then you look at prices on the market it just doesn’t match up.”

City of Albuquerque and Bernalillo County leaders say they recognize those types of stories resemble too many other renters’. They came up with a new resolution to work together on the housing crisis. 

“It’s not just a city issue it’s a county issue, and we’re trying to consolidate our resources, our expertise, our sources of funding at the local state and federal level to try to get to meet this demand for housing,” said Eric Griego Montoya, the associate chief of staff for Policy, in the Albuquerque Mayor’s Office.

The resolution would create a joint housing authority, called the Middle Rio Grande Housing Collaborative. The city and county would each put in half a million dollars to get the collaborative up and running, in hopes of landing more state funding for affordable housing.

“The real chase we’re under is we’re trying to get $50 million from the state to actually be able to capitalize this new entity, so they can build some part of that 30,000 unit gap that we have,” said Griego Montoya. “We think it shows that we’re serious to the governor and the Legislature about cooperating, collaborating, and working closely together to get housing done.”

And when they say affordable, they mean affordable for every income level.

“We’re not just talking about housing vouchers for folks who are unhoused. They’re an important part of this, and we all see them, but it’s also for people who are at poverty: working poor folks, families, students, seniors, people who are on fixed incomes,” said Griego Montoya. “They need affordable housing, meaning they’re not spending a majority of their income on housing.”

City councilors introduced the resolution at Monday night’s meeting, and county commissioners will introduce an identical resolution at their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7.