ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has millions to invest into low-income neighborhoods like Barelas, which are called “pockets of poverty.” The money will be used for things like fixing up rundown buildings and adding parks.

Albuquerque’s federally designated pocket of poverty is 11 square miles stretching from Los Griegos in the north valley, down to South Broadway and West Old Town to University Heights. The city is looking to dish out money from the Housing and Neighborhood Economic Development Fund to neighborhoods like Santa Barbra Martineztown. 

Santa Barbara Martineztown Neighborhood Association President Loretta Naranjo Lopez said, “We have historical significance here, and we’d like to keep it, maintain it residential. We’re looking forward to using the pocket of poverty money for the neighborhood.”

The federal fund has been around since the 1980s. Albuquerque has more than $6 million right now. The city is working on a plan to distribute the money over a ten-year period.

“It’s my department, Family Community Services’ job to administer the money right now, and it has to be spent on housing and, or, economic development activities,” explained Katie Simon, spokesperson for the Family and Community Services Department.

The city is asking people living in these specific neighborhoods to fill out a survey identifying concerns like affordable housing, home maintenance costs, sidewalks and parks, and the needs of small businesses.

Naranjo Lopez said, “There’s a lot of people that just can’t afford to fix their home, and so we want to make sure that happens. We’d like to make sure that it’s driven by the people, the residents that live here, and, and it’s not taken out of the pocket of poverty.”

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Right now, it’s unclear how the city will decide which neighborhoods will receive money and for what. The pocket of poverty survey is still open until January 22. 

This fund has paid for more than $18 million in projects in lower-income neighborhoods over the past 30 years.