With the exponentially growth in housing issues over the last few years, its no surprise that housing is a central priority of the 2024 legislative session. The Governor has put forward a proposal for unprecedented state funding across the spectrum of housing issues (see pages X/XI of the budget document).
The central proposal is the creation of a new State Office of Housing (SB71). There is currently no state agency or office that is working on the big picture of housing. The proposed legislation would create a small office that would first be charged with creating a strategic plan for addressing both the overall cost and availability of housing, both to build and to buy, and how to increase overall availability of housing across the income spectrum. This includes looking a big picture housing issues like aligning state housing resources and filling gaps, providing support to local governments to address regulatory barriers to producing new housing, creating regional approaches to increasing housing production, and working on growing the housing development and construction workforces.
For context, New Mexico is one of only eight states that doesn’t have a dedicated state office working on this issue. While we do have a quasi-governmental affordable housing finance agency (the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority) they work on a project-by-project basis subsidizing traditional affordable housing programs. They would work closely with the new organization to fill out the larger picture of increasing housing availability.
A large focus has been on workforce, or missing middle housing, which typically refers to housing for people that make too much money to qualify for traditional affordable housing programs but are increasingly priced out of entry level housing.
HB195 proposes to open the Opportunity Enterprise Revolving Loan Fund to include workforce housing as an eligible activity, and is accompanied by a $250 million one-time allocation request in the Executive Budget. The fund is managed by the New Mexico Finance Authority and would provide short-term low cost loans and other creative financing to local governments and private developers build infrastructure and construct housing at price points that serve unmet needs for workforce housing.
The Executive Budget also includes a significant funding request for the New Mexico Housing Trust Fund in the form of a one-time $250m appropriation to support traditional income-restricted affordable housing development initiative.
Rounding out the Executive Budget request is a $40m for Housing Stability Initiative focused on the hardest to serve unhoused populations. The proposal would provide intensive services for the roughly 15% of people who are not being adequately served by the current homeless intervention framework. The Governor’s has stated that they believe that by focusing on the unmet needs of this population, current resources can be freed up for a families that currently are not being served, as well as reducing burdens on local public safety and health system resources.
More information about these initiatives can be found in this info sheet from the Office of the Governor.