It’s too hard for New Mexicans to find a place to live and put down roots in their communities. We need to build more housing.
Yesterday I sat down with local leaders, home builders, and housing advocates in Las Cruces. We talked about the need to build housing for everyone from renters and young families buying their first home to folks looking for a safe and affordable place to retire.
PHOTO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich meets with local leaders, home builders, and housing advocates in Las Cruces to discuss affordable housing, April 11, 2023.
From my discussion yesterday, it’s clear that to build more houses and housing units, we need to work together. First, policymakers need to better incentivize home building - to make the math add up for contractors. Second, we need to tackle the shortage of trades workers by giving New Mexicans the tools they need to get into these careers. Third, we need to make sure our local and state governments are fully staffed to issue permits and do inspections. These are important for safety, and delays can have real impacts on how quickly we can solve the housing shortage.
Over the last few years, our focus was on making sure New Mexicans could stay in their homes. That included the Emergency Rental Assistance that I helped pass as part of the American Rescue Plan.
Even as the economy has rebounded, housing insecurity continues. That’s why last Congress I supported legislation like the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would expand developer tax credits to help build more than two million new affordable housing units over the next 10 years. This year I am also working to introduce legislation that expands federal support for Section 8 voucher holders and other low-income renters to help with essential moving costs, like security deposits.
I am also leading the effort to help families in their search for affordable housing by increasing funding of the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance programs supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The thought of buying a home—or even keeping up with rising rent payments—feels out of reach for too many New Mexicans. We need to change that. Whether you rent or own your home – and whether you live in an urban, rural, or Tribal community – everyone deserves a safe place to call home and the opportunity to build a foundation for a better future.
United States Senator