Candidate Questionnaire

The Santa Fe Housing Action Coalition is dedicated to expanding the accessibility and affordability of quality housing options in Santa Fe through systemic change that benefits all residents. The primary focus of the coalition is creating policy change that will make more affordable housing possible in our city.

To that end, we asked all city council candidates to answer the following questionnaire that was developed collaboratively by the Coalition Membership. It is our hope that this can help constituents better understand the candidates positions on addressing the housing crisis in our city.

  1. What do you see as the primary driver of housing affordability issues in Santa Fe?
    The lack of housing supply. When the supply is low, price of rent and home sales rises. In Santa Fe, the market for rent has risen over 40% in the past 5 years.
    Low supply, increased community focus on single family development, and discriminatory ideology of what affordable house actually is.
    - Underinvestment of low income and fixed income neighborhoods historically and in present day - Historically, there has been a lack of political will during certain administrations and elected official terms to prioritize affordable and workforce housing development and create the necessary structures to make it a viable option in present day. - During the recession, there was limited resale inventory as well as a lack of new construction inventory, especially for multi-family units. We have still not fully recovered economically from this recession.
    The primary driver of housing affordability issues in Santa Fe is the general lack of housing stock in the city. One factor contributing to this low stock is the lack of development due to an onerous and expensive development process as well as current residents objecting to new developments in their neighborhoods. In addition, Santa Fe is a very popular place and many buyers are purchasing second homes or investment properties. This not only decreases the total stock, but also results in the housing market being driven by the income of individuals who can afford second homes instead of local wages.
    Currently it is availability! So long as there is a shortage in housing, people looking to buy will pay market rate or higher to purchase a home here.
  2. What do you think is the single most important strategy for improving housing affordability in Santa Fe?
    Being able to develop long term smart and sustainable solutions. Once we pull ourselves out of this housing crisis, we want to ensure that we never get in a situation like this again.
    Change the negative perception by proactively engaging dialogue across the community to build a greater sense of urgency, understanding, and knowledge that can lead to sincere overall support for affordable housing developments
    There's no single strategy - we have to take a multi-pronged approach to improving housing affordability. However one of the more important strategies would be to find a permanent and reoccurring funding/revenue source(s) to support affordable housing development that assists in filling the funding gaps that, in many cases, can make an affordable project financially viable.
    We need to increase the number of available units across the housing spectrum, including affordable rentals, homes for first-time buyers, and homes for empty nesters looking to downsize. This strategy will take a multi-pronged approach of identifying city-owned land appropriate for development and putting out RFPs for developments that meet the community's needs for affordable housing; cleaning up our building and land use codes to ensure projects can be approved, started, and completed more efficiently; and implementing grant or low-cost loan programs to help preserve existing affordable units.
    Increasing the amount of homes on the market as well as providing sufficient amounts of below market affordability.
  3. What current city policies have you studied, and if elected, what is one housing policy or program you would pursue?
    I have researched the majority of housing policies and codes including the recent ADU ordinance. When elected I will look at housing codes that have been restrictive of development. If we are going to get out of this crisis, development need to be a part of the solution. We meed ton ensure that we are working towards progress and not being restrictive of progress.
    I support the all regulatory recommendations from the Affordable House plan. Primarily ADU, inclusionary zoning, fee in lieu, and increasing low density limits for multi-family construction. I also support a city program to help low income owners and renters retrofit solar energy to help reduce cost burdens.
    I would like us to explore how to implement a Community Land Trust model on either the Midtown property, or on other City owned or land swapped parcel. I also would like to pursue a permanent funding source(s) that could support our affordable housing initiatives and rehab of existing older housing stock, either through a GO Bond measure similar to Albuquerque's, or explore the possibility of a second home tax or fee.
    I have studied the Inclusionary Zoning/Santa Fe Homes Program, the updated ADU ordinance, the Short-Term Rental Ordinance, and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. One of the first steps I would pursue as City Councilor would be to reassess the the Santa Fe Homes Program. We need to look at ways to increase the number of permanent affordable units being built through providing incentives to developers as well as exploring increasing the fee in lieu so that more money is going to the Affordable Housing Fund and supporting affordable housing projects.
    I hope we can make more city owned land available for affordable housing projects
  4. What do you think is working best about the City's approach to addressing affordable housing?
    I like how the City is looking at current forms of policy that might be outdated.
    Collaborating with non-profits that understand our community needs, and concerns while have a successful track record of bringing forward thoughtful affordable housing developments.
    That we have an inclusionary zoning ordinance, unlike many cities across the country; - That the City is committed to supporting nonprofit efforts to provide rental assistance, housing vouchers, downpayment assistance, and/or rehabilitation of aging housing stock through our Community Development Commission grants.
    The City's inclusionary zoning is a step in the right direction. While the Santa Fe Homes Program is not perfect, it does represent the City's commitment to working on the affordable housing crisis. The City also does provide low-income residents rental vouchers and housing assistance, however much of this money is left on the table as individuals are unable to find qualifying units, once again highlighting the need for more development. The Fee in Lieu has been successful in stimulating development, but we need to reassess the amount of this fee to ensure it still supports the true housing needs in Santa Fe.
    I think setting aside a percentage of projects as affordable is a good step and also continuing our working relationship with programs like Homewise and the Housing Trust.
  5. What about Santa Fe’s approach to affordable housing do you think most needs improvement?
    I think there needs to be more involvement from stakeholders. In particular I feel the community needs to be involved more.
    The city has underfunded the affordable housing needs of our community for years. We have also been caught on our heels with proactively engaging proactive dialogue with neighborhoods that proposed developments could best fit in our community. I would also like to see the ENN reformed with a better communication plan to change the perception of people feeling like they are under attack without even knowing the details of any proposed development.
    I think we need a reliable funding source to draw from so that we are able to provide incentives and other funding options for developments that are supporting affordable and work force housing.
    Once again, we need to work on increasing the number of available units in Santa Fe. This means offering up city-owned parcels of land that are appropriate for development and putting out RFPs, working with other public entities such as the school district and County to identify parcels of land they own and would potentially be willing to offer up for development, cleaning up our codes to make the development approval and building processes more efficient, and reassessing the Santa Fe Homes Program to ensure more permanent affordable units are being built.
    Even the affordable housing seems high to me. Maybe finding a way to make affordable housing truly affordable
  6. How would you respond to community members who are opposed to expansion of affordable housing, supportive or voucher-based housing, or shelters in their neighborhoods?
    I would respond by informing opponents on why we have such programs. I will also educate constituents the benefits of such programs and how they are part of the overall success of the of city.
    I would engage them with factual dialogue and really help to change the negative perception behind affordable housing. During this campaign i have made a point to ask every voter what they think about in regards to affordable housing in Santa Fe. By far the majority of people support it, the City just needs to improve how they communicate and change the reactionary process. Having regular meetings that bring together people with developers to discuss area needs while balancing the sensitivity of our resources and the insecurity of those that have the most security.
    When the most vulnerable and marginalized populations are not taken care of, then we all lose - socially and economically. Housing is a human right, and when we begin to "other" community members because of their income level, different lived experience, or in some cases their ethnicity/racial makeup, then that is straight up discrimination and will not be tolerated in our City.
    We need to do a better job of making the connection between affordable housing needs and other issues within the city. The affordable housing crisis does not just impact individuals who cannot afford housing. It stifles economic development; contributes to our shortage of teachers, healthcare workers, and police officers; and increases the number individuals who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness. Affordable housing is a community-wide issue and it will take all of us as a community to solve it.
    Affordable housing is necessary to ensure that our local children and workforce continue to have the opportunity to live in their hometown or city they work in. As far as shelters are concerned, we need to ensure their is minimal impact on homes and businesses where shelters are located.
  7. Have you ever personally interacted or benefitted from any affordable housing programs in Santa Fe? If yes, explain.
    I have attended Santa Fe Housing Coalition meetings and events.
    I was considering and qualified for down payment assistance through the Community Housing Trust and Homewise. I went through 1st time homebuyer training and actively looked at homes in my price range. It took me 3 years before I was able to find a home I could afford. I ended up not utilizing the downpayment assistance in the end, and got a loan where I was able to afford the monthly payment.
    No, I have not. However, I would not be able to live here without assistance from my family. In order to make up for my lack of personal experience with official housing programs in Santa Fe, I have spent a lot of time speaking with individuals working for affordable housing causes or with the homeless population as well as talking to constituents who have interacted with affordable housing programs in Santa Fe.
    Not me personally, but I have children now that are working with Homewise and the Housing trust to get some assistance
  8. Creating a minimum annual funding level of $3 million for the City Affordable Housing Trust Fund?
  9. If yes, how do you propose to proceed? If no, what other opportunities have you identified, and how do you propose to proceed to bring those to fruition?
    We need to look at this as an investment and not an expenditure.
    I'm interested to take a look at how Albuquerque is using bonds to funds housing trusts, and i also like the idea of attaching service fees that are directed towards raising revenue to help generate revenue and fill in the gap of $2.25 million. The most likely that i have heard is very unpopular is the real estate transfer fee.
    Explore how to support a permanent revenue stream and possibly model it after Albuquerque's Workforce Housing Act.
    We need to look at a number of revenue streams to fund the Affordable Housing Trust including: increasing the fee in lieu; revenue collected from short-term rentals; tax credits; and private funding.
    Funding will have to be looked at across various ares including but not limited to bonding, providing city lands, and working with various housing programs and potentially non-profits
  10. Increasing city protections for renters?
  11. Increased housing density as an approach to dealing with housing affordability and climate change?
  12. A formal program that would make City-owned land available for affordable housing development?
  13. Expanding the LINC overlay to more areas of Midtown Santa Fe to promote new housing development?
  14. Streamlining City development review processes to promote more housing development?