Note: As a partner with the State of New Mexico, the City of Las Cruces shares this information with residents.
Natalie Green, Neighborhood Services Administrator for the City of Las Cruces, has been appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to the newly created New Mexico Housing Investment Council.
Gov. Lujan Grisham signed an Executive Order Tuesday, May 23, 2023, that creates a Housing Investment Council with a mission to bring affordable housing development up to pace to meet demands in New Mexico, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office. The council’s work begins at a crucial moment, as average rent in the state has increased by 70% since 2017 but wages have only grown by 15%.
“It is time to go big on affordable housing. We need thousands of homes to meet demand and give New Mexicans a stable foundation,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “We secured more than $82 million in the last legislative session to address housing, and an investment plan is the next step in ensuring we make the most of every housing dollar in our state.”
In addition to Green, council members selected by the Governor include:
- Kent Thurston, Chief Executive Officer of KT Homes, a limited liability company in Las Cruces.
- Gary Housepian, Executive Director of Disability Rights New Mexico, in Las Cruces.
- Lorie Chavez, CEO of the Santo Domingo Tribal Housing Authority.
- Rachel Biggs, Strategic Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless.
- Randy Traynor, of Randy Traynor Associates, in Albuquerque.
- Daniel Werwath, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Housing, in Santa Fe.
- Laura Long, of Jorgensen Builders, in Santa Fe.
- State Sen. Michael Padilla, of Albuquerque.
- State Rep. Meredith Dixon, of Albuquerque.
- Brian Egolf, Former Speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives, who will serve as the council chair.
The Executive Order signed by the governor directs the council to develop a strategic housing investment plan that addresses gaps in available housing resources, inefficiencies in regulatory and zoning that impact housing development, workforce and business shortages in the housing development industries, the facilitation of public-private partnerships and more.
“The Housing Investment Council presents an opportunity to work with housing experts and utilize best practices to develop a plan that tailored to the needs of all New Mexicans no matter what stage of the housing continuum from homelessness to homeownership they may be in,” Green said. “I look forward to representing local government and southern New Mexico in the efforts to solve the housing crisis through collaboration with the state, local governments, nonprofits and private partnerships.”
“There are a lot of things this council will help us out on,” Thurston said. “With this council and the ability to do it, you will see more people willing to invest in New Mexico because we won’t tie up their dollar as long.”
Housepian said, “This is a great opportunity, and it makes me feel really hopeful about where New Mexico is heading. We are strategically figuring out how best to provide housing for people in New Mexico. For people with disabilities, it is so critical to be included in these groups to be part of the conversation. I look forward to being part of this council.”