ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Creating communities, where residents look out for each other, NewLife Homes, is a supportive housing agency that’s developing and managing affordable housing and providing support services. They serve over 500 residents in Albuquerque at nine different locations.
Executive director at NewLife Homes, John Bloomfield discusses the work they’re doing for the community and the crucial need they have for more funding. Serving the most vulnerable in the community, the organization says the majority of their residents are very low income with san annual income of less than $12,000.
Bloomfield explains that funding is skewed towards the upper tier of the affordable housing spectrum and that funding comes in three pieces: equity, comprising low-income housing credits, sustainable billing tax credits, and historic tax credits. Citing a 2019 Harvard study, Bloomfield says there has been a steep drop in funding for those at the lower end of the affordable housing spectrum or those earning about $750 monthly on Social Security Disability Insurance.
The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Albuquerque is about $700. NewLife Homes helps to promote tolerance and a sense of community through its diverse communities.
NewLife Homes reports one-third of its residents have a mental illness and were formerly homeless. “We serve groups like the transgender population, refugees, a lot of groups that really struggle to find housing opportunities, we also have market-rate units so it’s a very mixed bag and what we find is that that really serves to promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity,” said Bloomfield.
They have been able to keep rent low at an average of $400 to $500 due to its business model. This model for developing new projects assembles multiple rants and equity with negligible debt. NewLife also has few head office staff and onsite managers at their properties and pride themselves on knowing every resident with some being with them for decades.
NewLife Homes’ properties are full with the exception of vacant units that are set aside for the mayor’s homeless vouchers however, the Housing Authority advises that they can’t find qualified homeless applicants. Bloomfield explains that despite this odd situation, they do have homeless individuals who will often sleep outside their properties.
“I think it’s really important for the broader community to recognize and acknowledge that these are your neighbors and they are invested in the communities where they reside. We keep our spaces open for use by a neighborhood nonprofit at no charge so we really like to be seen as a community resource and want to dispel the myths that are often attached to this particular constituency,” said Bloomfield.
For more information on NewLife Homes, visit their Facebook page.