Overturn state's profit-driven ban on rent control - Albuquerque Journal

Overturn state’s profit-driven ban on rent control

On Nov. 2, 2021, Albuquerque residents made history by resoundingly defeating the $50 million New Mexico United Stadium bond seeking to build a soccer stadium in one of Albuquerque’s historic neighborhoods by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. The message was clear: New Mexico’s working-class residents will not be displaced in the interest of profits.

Politicians throughout New Mexico were clearly caught off guard by the resounding loss. The defeat was just a part of a much bigger struggle. The stadium development is just a recent example of an urban planning process that is being led in our state by top-down corporate interests and their political allies. As was apparent during the stadium bond campaign, months of work had gone on behind the scenes prior to the election to produce plans for the stadium development project and implement those plans with a minimum of public participation. The individuals pushing this agenda couch their language in terms of justice and equity. However, the focus of their efforts is to push New Mexico’s low-income residents out of their communities and attract higher-paying residents. In a word, their goal is gentrification.

The question that faces all residents of our state is “Who has the right to call New Mexico home?”

Does New Mexico’s hard-working majority, as well as those who are unable to work or are retired, have a right to live in this city without being evicted by rising prices? Or will New Mexico be the next state where only the high-paying can afford to live?

Most central to the struggle against gentrification is the struggle for affordable housing. In 2020, median rent across New Mexico increased dramatically. In 2021, rent skyrocketed far beyond 2020, driving many into poverty and chronic homelessness. For many, renting is the only option, as housing prices are also soaring. The price of homes is at a historic level throughout our state. The result is that large sections of New Mexico residents, especially the most vulnerable, are rapidly being evicted by rising rents.

Nationwide we are facing a crisis, and rents must immediately be brought under control. New Mexico is one of 37 states that bans rent control. This is accomplished through a statute, passed in the early ’90s, prohibiting local communities from democratically enacting any regulations or controls on rent. The statewide prohibition on rent control in New Mexico means that landlords and developers have a free hand to gentrify our communities, pushing out residents in the interest of profit.

It is critical New Mexico comes together in a movement against gentrification and for the right to secure, affordable housing. To that end, the Peoples Housing Project and our allies will be demanding that our legislators overturn New Mexico’s statutory prohibition on rent control.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Overturn state’s profit-driven ban on rent control


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