Morning Word

Housing Report Documents Influx of Higher-Income Residents to Santa Fe

Judge grants preliminary injunction against PED 180-day rule

City housing report notes influx of higher-income residents

The City of Santa Fe’s Office of Affordable Housing Department yesterday released the draft of its five-year affordable housing strategic plan, and is accepting public comment through the end of the month. The plan, prepared by Root Policy Research, notes several demographic trends in the area, including an increase in Santa Fe County’s population during the COVID-19 pandemic of 4,800 new residents—with 70% of the growth within the city. Moreover, “the data also suggest that higher income households are relocating to the area, while those with middle incomes are moving out. Specifically, in 2016, the average adjusted gross income for households coming in was approximately $74,900, while the average for those leaving was around $74,800. However, as of 2021, the average adjusted gross income for incoming households has risen to about $100,800, while those leaving have an average of $73,400.” Other demographic shifts include a decrease in median age from 44.9 in 2019 to 42.5 in 2021. The report also documents the challenges of both buying and renting a home in Santa Fe. In the case of the latter, for instance, the median gross rent in the City of Santa Fe increased by 28% between 2015 and 2021, going from $970 to $1,245. Ultimately, the report finds approximately 6,559 renter households and 8,192 owner households are cost-burdened here. The report, which also includes the results of surveys and focus groups conducted and convened on the topics of affordable housing and homelessness, concludes with action plans for itself and numerous community partners to address the housing needs, including: developing a “centralized housing navigation hub” for people experiencing housing insecurity; building more rental units; and building more outdoor safe shelter units.

Feds award NM $11.8 million for public housing

Also on the housing front, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded New Mexico close to $12 million through its capital fund program to support 21 public housing authorities across New Mexico, the state’s congressional delegation announced yesterday. The grants represent a $133,000 increase from last year’s awards. In Santa Fe, the county’s housing authority will receive $627,438, while the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority will receive $627,932. Albuquerque’s housing authority received the largest award, close to $2.4 million, followed by $1.9 million to the multi-county Northern Regional Housing Authority. “This $11.8 million investment from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will help local housing authorities make necessary repairs, upgrade to energy-efficient heating systems, and conserve water,” US Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández, D-NM, says in a statement. “Everyone deserves to live with dignity in a safe, reliable location. The $6 million going to housing authorities across my district will help New Mexicans do just that.”

Judge pauses 180-day school rule

Following hours of testimony yesterday in Roswell, Ninth Judicial District Judge Dustin Hunter granted the request from the New Mexico School Superintendents and more than 50 school districts—including Santa Fe Public Schools—and granted a temporary injunction against the New Mexico Public Education Department’s 180-day rule requiring all districts operate with a minimum of 180 instructional days starting with the 2024-2025 school year. The plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against PED and Education Secretary Arsenio Romero last month in which they argue the law directly conflicts with state statute. Hunter appears to agree with that argument, saying yesterday, “If the Legislature had intended to expand the number of days with all the accompanying costs — such as transportation and food and specialty providers such as special education and everything else—it necessarily would have provided the funding or given clear guidance as to why it was unable to.” SFPS and other districts also say the rule change—which PED adopted in the face of widespread opposition—amounts to an unfunded mandate. Several Republican lawmakers also have objected to the rule, with Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s chief general counsel, Holly Agajanian, defending the rule in yesterday’s hearing.

Rail Runner adds Friday night concert train

This summer’s Railyard Concert Series will be more accessible for Albuquerque visitors, organizers said yesterday, with the addition of a new later-night train on Fridays in June. Specifically, starting June 7 the Rail Runner will kick off a new partnership with Lensic360 and the Railyard Community Corporation for an additional Friday night southbound train that leaves at 10:05 pm. “Not only will it increase access to Albuquerque,” Lensic360 Director Jamie Lenfestey tells SFR, “but I’m really hopeful that people will take the opportunity to utilize the train as a park-and-ride from the various Santa Fe stations.” Lensic360′s free Railyard Series  has a fairly stacked lineup of Friday night shows this year, including electronic dance jam act Mexican Institute of Sound with Frontera Bugalú on June 7; reggae artist Hirie on June 21; the annual Meow Wolf Monster Battle with electronica from The Polish Ambassador on June 28; and many others. The organization will also host its annual Santa Fe Salutes show on Aug. 2. The tribute series has previously paid due to artists such as Prince, Aretha Franklin and, last year, Elton John. This year’s honoree? Taylor Swift on Friday, Aug. 2. “I don’t know that there’s a bigger living legend right now than Taylor Swift,” Santa Fe Salutes coordinator Andy Primm tells SFR. “It’s Taylor’s world; we’re just living in it.” The Santa Fe Salutes concert will coincide with SFR’s 2024 Best of Santa Fe party; voting in the annual contest continues through the end of May.

Listen up

The most recent episode of New Mexico In Focus includes a roundtable discussion led by Source New Mexico Editor Shaun Griswold examining the pro-Palestinian protests on the University of New Mexico campus, as well as campuses across the US—including New Mexico State University, where more than a dozen people were arrested at the end of last week. Panelists include: UNM law school professor Ernesto Longa; civil rights lawyer Ahmad Assed; and UNM Daily Lobo Multimedia Editor Paloma Chapa.

Dressed to the nines

Elle magazine takes the measure of the United States’ first Indigenous fashion week, held earlier this month in Santa Fe. Southwestern Association for Indian Arts’ Native Fashion Week is part of a growing trend recognizing Indigenous fashion, Elle writes, an “unprecedented, and long overdue, celebration of authentic Native representation” that “has been thousands of years in the making.” SWAIA’s recent event featured 17 different Indigenous designers, four of whom the magazine highlights—including Santa Fe-based Orlando DugiCowboys & Indians magazine also reports on SWAIA’s debut fashion week, and notes that in addition to bringing the fashion world to Santa Fe and celebrating Indigenous fashion, the organization also prioritizes “educating the masses about Indigenous culture.” To that end, organizer and educator Amber-Dawn Bear Robe (Siksika Nation) moderated a symposium “inviting attendees to listen in on intimate conversations about the importance of Native fashion and the time-honored techniques behind the contemporary creations.” Highlights, C&I reports, included “a roller-skating sensation during House of Sutai’s disco-themed show, synchronized performance art during Randy Barton’s show and Tantoo Cardinal closing out Patricia Michaels’ show (which naturally triggered a standing ovation).” Check out some videos from the event via Table magazine.

...and the living’s easy

Fashion/lifestyle web magazine The Zoe Report offers up summer vacation packing lists from its staffers as they prepare for their warm-weather destinations, including Deputy Beauty Editor Erin Lukas, who is apparently heading our way. “Whenever I want to completely disassociate from the stress of my daily life without going overseas, I head west,” Lukas says, adding that Santa Fe is next on her list because while “there’s loads to see and do…the city is still quaint enough to conquer on a long weekend friends’ trip.” Her compact packing list includes “a breezy knee-length linen dress for the daytime and a patterned silk maxi one for nighttime dinners. I’ll pair both outfits with versatile statement flats. Since it gets cool in the desert as soon as the sun goes down, a lightweight jacket is a must.” Lukas neglects to mention where she’ll be staying, but perhaps she’ll run across Condé Nast magazine new story on the best Airbnbs with pools, which includes a 6,700 square-foot home in Santa Fe, which, in addition to a pool, features a spa, sauna, 360-degree views, two kitchens, five bedrooms and four bathrooms. “This is an exceptional venue that is breathtaking in its beauty,” the listing notes, and is “perfect for groups or families up to 14 seeking a relaxed retreat in a quiet country setting” that is minutes from downtown just off Veteran’s Memorial Highway. Nightly rates appear to start at $300, with seven-night minimum during high season.

The glorious sun

The National Weather Service forecasts a sunny day, with a high temperature near 77 degrees and north wind 5 to 15 mph becoming west in the morning.

Thanks for reading! The Word did not see Northern New Mexico’s iteration of the Northern Lights, but she has been admiring Knate Myers Photography’s shots of them.

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