ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The campaign that worked to defeat the city’s $50-million soccer stadium is now turning its focus to rent control. Organizers with the Peoples Housing Project are trying to get the attention of lawmakers ahead of next month’s 30-day legislative session. 

Since New Mexico law prohibits rent control at the state and local levels, people say they’re worried about rent skyrocketing. “If rents keep rising at the rates that they have since the beginning of 2020, there’s going to be nowhere to go for working class people like me. Homelessness will be on the rise,” says group organizer Bex Hampton. 

Another organizer, Alyssa Doublet, says “Housing is a basic human right with rents going up at extreme rates, families are facing the insecurities of potentially losing their homes.” Affordable housing for low-income renters in the state is becoming even harder to find due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Organizers say they’re concerned the cost of living in Albuquerque will push more people into homelessness unless something changes. “Things that the government could easily do is use eminent domain to seize apartment complexes, hotels, even large amounts of homes and then convert them into affordable housing,” said Hampton. The Peoples Housing Project says the group plans to get lawmakers’ attention at the 30-day legislative session in January. 

According to a report from Quote-Wizard, the average price of rent in New Mexico has gone up 20% this year and 33% since 2019. The survey says right now the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment is $925.00 in the state of New Mexico.  

New Mexico’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program is using CARES act money to help New Mexicans who have fallen behind on rent or utilities. As of December 9th, the program has given more than 31,000 awards.

KRQE News 13 reached out to some New Mexico lawmakers for their take on affordable housing and rent control in the state. They were not available for comment because of the special session underway.