Santa Fe, NM Affordable Housing Roundtable

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Santa Fe, NM, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted in 1991

Source File:


For 400 years Santa Fe had a proud tradition of being "a place where rich and poor lived together," says Joseph Montoya, the city's housing and economic development team leader. By 1991 that had changed dramatically. Rapid gentrification was making the city unaffordable for a large segment of the population. Wealthy newcomers were pushing out longtime local residents--often the very people whose culture and traditions draw people to the oldest capital city in the United States.

The response to the phenomenon in other cities has been simply to let it happen--going so far as to bus workers in each day and out at night. But Santa Fe was different. In 1991 the city helped create the Santa Fe Affordable Housing Roundtable, a coalition of city and county government officials, nine local nonprofit housing agencies, and The Enterprise Foundation. The goal was to develop a plan to keep Santa Fe from becoming an enclave of the rich and privileged only.

In 1992, with the backing of the Roundtable, the Santa Fe City Council adopted a housing plan that set an ambitious, but doable, schedule both to create affordable housing and to provide rent and mortgage subsidies to the estimated 5,000 families in the city in need of such assistance. Under the plan, the city is working with developers and the nonprofit groups to make future housing affordable to low- and middle-income groups. Seventeen housing programs have been intertwined to provide everything from city-funded mortgage assistance to federally funded rent subsidies to equity financing from foundations. Each of the Roundtable's nonprofit partners acts as a contact point for low- and moderate-income residents, matching programs to need.

In three years--using just $900,000 in city money--the Roundtable has leveraged $55 million in housing assistance from the government and private sector. It has helped more than 600 families stay in Santa Fe and plans to assist 1,000 more families in its next rendition of the strategic housing plan. Through the Affordable Housing Roundtable, Santa Fe is forging a clear path to a future of both economic and ethnic diversity.