Chainbreaker Collective, a nonprofit that’s been on the forefront of alternative transportation advocacy in Santa Fe for the past decade, is venturing into new territory with its recent launch of a “renters’ rights” initiative.

The plan seeks to prevent displacement of residents who live in neighborhoods close to downtown Santa Fe. Chainbreaker Executive Director Tomás Rivera says many of the nonprofit’s members live in the Hopewell-Mann neighborhood near Second Street, where rent has been rising for the past few years. 

“A lot of people are concerned about gentrification,” Rivera says. “We don’t think we have the luxury of waiting anymore.” 

He points out that when people move to the south side of town where housing is more affordable but walkability is less accessible, they have to rely more on cars to get around. So with the idea that “housing problems cause transportation problems,” Chainbreaker is surveying residents around the city to get a grasp on how transportation problems are related to housing problems.  

“Car-dependence keeps people poor,” the survey reads. “Working people can spend up to [one-third] of our income on transportation costs. Part of the reason why is because housing costs in Santa Fe are really high, pushing many of us to move to sprawling areas with limited resources.” 

Chainbreaker volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods with the survey, Rivera says, and will be likely focusing on the Hopewell-Mann neighborhood, as well as the newly annexed areas on the Southside.