A housing plan crafted and approved for Eddy County could help developers attain grants for more affordable housing, according to Eddy County’s Community Services Department.
Authored by Wilson and Company, an engineering and architecture firm from Albuquerque, the 2021 Eddy County Affordable Housing Plan identified opportunities for federal and state grants, said Steve McCrosskey, assistant community services director.
“These opportunities can be Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) or various other federal or state grants,” McCrosskey wrote in a memorandum to the Eddy County Board of County Commissioners.
CDBG provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons, the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website indicated.
In his memo, McCrosskey said state grants loans were offered through the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMFA).
“The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority is a self-supporting quasi-governmental entity that provides financing to make quality affordable housing and other related services available to low- and moderate-income New Mexicans,” read NMFA’s website.
McCrosskey said the grants or loans could be used to help developers provide more affordable housing in areas with low income versus high price sales. According to the Housing Plan, an estimated 486 Eddy County renters earning $36,000 to $56,000 needed more affordable rental units.
“While at least 317 need homes to purchase,” read a summary of the Housing Plan.
Wilson and Company predicted over the next five years, if the energy boom and current trends continue, Eddy County had a total need to help 3,400 households with renter’s assistance, down payment assistance or affordable and workforce rental units and homes.
“Many employers in the county who answered a housing survey in June 2021 said the lack of quality housing and high prices are making it hard for them to recruit employees,” the Plan stated.
The study indicated people who work in Eddy County were “living anywhere they can.”
At the start of the study, recreation vehicle (RV) parks and campgrounds in municipalities and the county were full.
“But started to drop off as oil demands dropped with a nationwide (COVID-19) lockdown order. Local hotels have been operating near capacity (roughly 1,831 rooms), and room prices have been continually increasing,” according to the report.
The report indicated Eddy County had 11 subsidized apartment properties between Carlsbad and Artesia with a combined total of nearly 600 units.
“All affordable properties in Eddy County have a wait list between one and three years. The longest wait list is with senior living facilities,” per the report.
Based on 2020 data, Ty Nagle of Wilson and Company said Eddy County’s median house price rose from $185,000 to $258,000 from 2015 to 2020.
McCrosskey said Wilson and Company drew up a housing plan for the City of Carlsbad and most of the data helped develop Eddy County’s plan.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.