Black Track: November 18, 2022

 NM housing crisis

The idea that New Mexico continues to face a housing crisis and rapid rent increases is not up for debate. Compounding the crisis is the continued rise in interest rates. These rates can hinder first-time homebuyers and/or as well prospective homeowners looking to sell their home. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition found a shortage of about 39,999 rental, and affordable homes for extremely low-income renters. 28% of renters in NM are considered low income. The maximum income for a 4-person family to be considered “low income” is $26,200. According to HUD Fair Market Rent, the annual income needed to afford a 2-bedroom rental home is $36,528. These findings equate to 67% of renters in NM carrying a severe cost burden. These burdens cause sacrifices for other necessities, such as healthy food and healthcare to pay rent which can lead to unstable housing situations. Evictions are increasingly becoming the norm in NM.[1]

I attended the 2022 Albuquerque Regional Economic Alliance’s (AREA) Building a Regional Economy November series: Economic Development. Educating the public on issues affecting NM housing shortage is the continued aligned mission of the Office of African American Affairs. Our vision is to improve the quality of life for all African Americans in our Land of Enchantment. Participating in this training allowed our office to identify several important topics for Black/African American communities throughout our state. For example, differentiating between Affordable Housing, A House That is Affordable, and Section 8/Low Income Housing, is critical information that Black/African Americans and other BIPOC communities should know:

A House That is Affordable: Someone who is making 100% of the median income for that housing development/area would be able to purchase a house that is affordable (2)
For example: Single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. Not rental apartments. Affordable Housing: As defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, affordable housing is any housing i.e. (*house, apartment, townhome, etc.), that costs an owner or renter no more than 30 percent of gross household income, including utilities.[1] For example: According to AREA, Santa Fe no longer has or will have Affordable Housing as defined by the U.S. Department of Urban Development as the cost of single/multi-family apartments/homes exceed the 30% cost of ownership/renter threshold. Section 8 Low Income Housing: Low-income, on the other hand, describes households earning at or below 80 percent of an area’s median income. For example: The area median income is calculated by HUD annually for different communities and is adjusted based on household size. It is used to determine the eligibility of applicants for federally and locally funded housing programs. “If no more people moved to New Mexico, at our current rate of housing development, it would take over 20 years to stop the housing crisis and eliminate our current shortage.” -Brian McCarthy Owner and Co-Founder of Abrazo Homes. The New Mexico Housing Authority is a great resource for Black/African American families interested in one of these defined categories of housing within our state of New Mexico:[2]