Editorial: Two Approaches to Alleviating the Affordable Housing Crisis

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A Santa Fe nonprofit is offering a glimmer of hope amid an ever-growing affordable housing crisis that is affecting more than just low-income earners across the state.

Spurred by an anonymous $400,000 donation, Homewise is working with Santa Fe Public Schools to help teachers overcome one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership — a large down payment.

And that’s badly needed in Santa Fe — one of the state’s most expensive housing markets — where teachers and civil servants are struggling to own a home.

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

At the same time, the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is leading a newly formed Housing New Mexico Advisory Committee — a coalition of advocacy groups ranging from homebuilders to anti-homeless groups — to better coordinate solutions that would increase housing construction across the state.

The coalition is guided by a report it commissioned that shows the breadth of the problem.

It turns out that New Mexico has a statewide shortage of 32,000 units affordable for the poorest New Mexicans. Nationwide, 218,471 households are considered “cost-burdened” according to the federal definition of spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Of these, 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 the necessary statewide housing strategies in the big picture. Homewise offers a proprietary solution that provides instant relief. Both find 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 not signed as it reflects the opinion of the newspaper and not the authors.

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