ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – City officials, advocacy groups, and renters often mention there are simply not enough affordable places to live in Albuquerque. On Tuesday, the city outlined just one of the ways it hopes to add thousands of new housing units.

The plan to buy and convert old hotels and motels into permanent homes is part of the Keller Administrations Housing Forward Plan to expand the city’s housing supply. The idea so far is getting mixed responses. “Motels were never designed to be long-term permanent living situations. They are short-term,” said Colleen Aycock with Women Taking Back Our Neighborhoods, a local group.

Tuesday night’s meeting invited the community to learn more and express their ideas and concerns about the plan. “We certainly see the need for more housing and want to learn more and support any initiative that can help bring on more units,” said Linda BridgeExecutive Director of Albuquerque Housing Authority.

The city says they would be creating “basic apartments,” meaning some wouldn’t have stoves installed. Their requirements allow for a full kitchen but has exceptions; full kitchens would not neccessarily be required. They say this will help make these conversions faster and cost effective. The city addressed concerns that adding the units will have adequate living situations.

“That’s what the integrated development ordinance allows for to have a small kitchen but not a full-blown kitchen, and we have many examples that we’ll be talking about tonight where that’s all you need to make a nutritional meal,” said Carol Pierce, Director of Family and Community Services, Carol Pierce.

The Department of Family and Community Services clarifies these are not shelters and they aren’t just for those who are currently homeless. Some residents will pay rent, while other apartments will be subsidized. Through these conversions, they hope to house at least 1,000 lower-income individuals by 2025. The initial funding covers at least two conversions.

According to the city, they are looking at several hotels whose owners are interested in selling and expect to acquire a property by the beginning of 2023.

The Housing Forward Plan also includes converting commercial and office buildings and allowing the construction of casitas. For those who missed Tuesday night’s meeting, there will be another one on December 13 via Zoom.