Editorial: Two approaches to easing affordable housing crisis - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Two approaches to easing affordable housing crisis

A Santa Fe nonprofit offers a glimmer of hope amid an ever-growing affordable housing crisis that affects more than just the lowest wage-earners across the state.

Spurred by a $400,000 anonymous donation, Homewise is collaborating with Santa Fe Public Schools to help teachers overcome one of the biggest barriers to home ownership — a hefty down payment.

And that’s desperately needed in Santa Fe — one of the priciest housing markets in the state — where teachers and civil servants struggle to own homes.

Can you imagine saving for years to buy a home, only to learn you’re eligible for a grant up to $40,000 for a down payment. Suddenly the American Dream is within reach.

At the same time, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is spearheading a newly formed Housing New Mexico Advisory Committee — a coalition of stakeholders ranging from builders to anti-homelessness groups — to better coordinate solutions that would increase housing statewide.

The coalition is being guided by a report it commissioned identifying the breadth of the problem.

It found New Mexico has a statewide shortage of 32,000 units that are affordable to the poorest New Mexicans. Statewide, 218,471 households are considered “cost burdened,” following the federal definition of spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Of those, 100,858 spend more than half of their income on housing.

Also, the state’s available rental units are largely concentrated in the $625- to $1,250-per-month range, which is unaffordable for many New Mexicans.

The Housing New Mexico Advisory Committee has the potential to provide needed big-picture statewide housing strategies. Homewise is offering a homegrown solution that offers immediate relief. Both are finding a way to address New Mexico’s affordable housing crisis.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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