KUNM

Advocates: Development Threatens Affordable Housing

Sep 22, 2016

Affordable housing advocates gathered in Santa Fe Thursday to protest Mayor Javier Gonzales' new plan to revitalize certain areas of town. The protesters say the plan could gentrify a low-income part of the capital city.

It’s no secret Santa Fe is an expensive place to live. Natoshia Whylie, who rents a home near St. Michaels Drive, says it’s almost too expensive.

“My rent’s already a lot, and if it goes any higher I probably will have to move to Albuquerque,” she said.

Whylie and a renters rights group called the Chainbreaker Collective are criticizing the mayor's plan to give incentives to developers in this area in an effort to attract more businesses.

“Our concern is that as that kind of development happens it often drives up rents, it often drives up property values,” said Chainbreaker organizer Tomás Rivera. “And when that happens adjacent to our neighborhood, which is the lowest income neighborhood in the city, people can’t afford it so they leave en masse.”

Rivera says the protesters support many of the mayor’s policies, but are demanding protections for renters in low-income neighborhoods.