Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Future of Affordable Housing in New Mexico

Homelessness Resource CenterMixed-income households, supportive housing, and green sustainable design will be the future direction of affordable housing in New Mexico--that is if Mark Allison, Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico (SHC-NM), has anything to say about it.

Why this approach? According to Mark:

*MIXED INCOME: Better integration of all income levels, as well as integrating formerly homeless individuals into the broader community. And it makes good business sense.
*SUPPORTIVE HOUSING: Gives residents the support they need and integrates these services into permanent affordable housing.
*GREEN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN: Not only it is the right thing to do, but it makes operations more efficient and affordable in the long run.

The SHC-NM’s Statewide Development Initiative is building on more than 10 years of extensive Albuquerque-based housing development as it expands into smaller communities throughout the state. During the first year of this new initiative, the Coalition is developing more than 60 units in three communities. It will serve homeless youth, homeless persons with disabilities, homeless persons in recovery from substance abuse, and homeless families with children.

The Coalition is working in the East, North, and Western parts of the state and is in conversations with two communities in the South, including a tribal entity. Future projects will focus primarily on permanent supportive housing for homeless persons with disabilities.

In Albuquerque, SHC-NM is one year into implementing a Housing First program using tenant-based rental assistance vouchers. Today, the program serves 125 residents, utilizing 45 participating landlords, and expects to house 180 formerly chronic homeless individuals during its first phase. The Coalition believes this program can be replicated in larger communities across the state.

For its innovative work, the SHC-NM was recently awarded the prestigious “Excellence in Design Award” by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority.

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