Governor signs executive order creating affordable housing investment council
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed an executive order which created a Housing Investment Council with a mission to bring New Mexico’s affordable housing development up to pace to meet demand in the state. The council’s work begins at a crucial moment as average rent in the state has increased by 70% since 2017 but wages have only grown by 15 %.
“It is time to go big on affordable housing. We need thousands of homes to meet demand and give New Mexicans a stable foundation,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We secured more than $82 million in the last legislative session to address housing, and an investment plan is the next step in ensuring we make the most of every housing dollar in our state.”
The members of the council selected by the governor are:
- Brian Egolf, Former House Speaker, Chair
- Senator Michael Padilla
- Representative Meredith Dixon
- Lorrie Chavez, CEO Santo Domingo Housing Authority
- Kent Thurston, CEO KT Homes LLC
- Natalie Green, City of Las Cruces
- Rachel Biggs, Strategic Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless
- Gary Housepian, Executive Director Disability Rights New Mexico
- Randy Traynor, Randy Traynor Associates
- Daniel Werwath, Executive Director New Mexico Interfaith Housing
- Laura Long, Jorgensen Builders
The executive order signed by the governor directs the council to develop a strategic housing investment plan that addresses gaps in available housing resources, inefficiencies in regulatory and zoning that impact housing development, workforce and business shortages in the housing development industries, the facilitation of public-private partnerships and more.
“We have a big job to do,” said Brian Egolf, former House Speaker and chair of the council. “The next six months will be a sprint so that we can have a package to present to the legislature. I’m looking to have results a year from now.”
“I think this is one of the most important things we can do for our young families especially,” said Senator Michael Padilla. “It is going to give them a sense of place which leads to a better home life for their children. If you don’t know where you are going to sleep at night the last thing you are going to focus on is your homework if you even got to school that day. This is going to lend itself to a lot more down the road.”
“Housing that is accessible and affordable is central to getting families in stable and safe environments,” said Representative Meredith Dixon. “The council’s work will happen before January so there will be something for us to put into action when the next session starts. It’s imperative the work starts right away to help get New Mexicans into the homes they deserve.”
“I’ve been working in affordable housing in New Mexico for 20 years,” said Daniel Werwath, Executive Director New Mexico Interfaith Housing, “and housing is a need across the state. It is a diverse need and I think there is a real opportunity for this type of initiative coming from the governor’s office making it a priority for all the different players to create some change that has impact in people’s lives.”
“This is a great opportunity, and it makes me feel really hopeful about where New Mexico is heading,” said Gary Housepian, Executive Director Disability Rights New Mexico. “We are strategically figuring out how best to provide housing for people in New Mexico. For people with disabilities, it is so critical to be included in these groups to be part of the conversation. I look forward to being part of this council.”
“The housing investment council presents an opportunity to work with housing experts and utilize best practices to develop a plan that tailored to the needs of all New Mexicans no matter what stage of the housing continuum from homelessness to homeownership they may be in,” said Natalie Green, City of Las Cruces. “I look forward to representing local government and southern New Mexico in the efforts to solve the housing crisis through collaboration with the state, local governments, nonprofits and private partnerships.
“Housing is such a shortage on reservations,” said Lorrie Chavez, CEO of Santo Domingo Housing Authority. “When you look at housing and you think about housing in Native communities, we live in multigenerational housing and that leads to overcrowding. This plan we are going to be developing is going to mean everything and to have a voice for the Native community on there is the biggest impact we could have. This is going to be great.”
“I think it is going to open up a lot of opportunities for people to own a home or be in a home. Right now, it is very difficult for a lot of reasons,” said Randy Traynor, Randy Traynor Associates. “To look at housing wholistically across the state is an opportunity we’ve never had in the 30 years I’ve been in this work and the timing couldn’t be better for all of that.”
“There are a lot of things this council will help us out on,” said Kent Thurston, CEO KT Homes LLC. “With this council and the ability to do it, you will see more people willing to invest in New Mexico because we won’t tie up their dollar as long.”
“Housing is critical to the social and economic health of a community,” said Laura Long, Jorgensen Builders. “The investment we make in sustainable housing greatly increases stability which provides for a healthy, balanced and desirable living environment. It is our challenge to create sustainable housing as we all benefit from such investment.”
The executive order went into effect immediately upon the governor’s signing.