The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding public housing authorities across New Mexico more than $5.5 million in grants.

The state’s congressional delegation announced the funding Friday, saying it’s part of the relief package recently approved by Congress. The funding will be aimed at increasing access to affordable housing in hopes of keeping more New Mexicans in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

New Mexico Congresswomen Deb Haaland and Xochitl Torres Small say the grants come at a critical time as tens of thousands of New Mexicans are facing reduced work hours, layoffs and increased economic uncertainty.

“I know what it’s like when you don’t know when the next paycheck is going to come,” Haaland said. “These housing assistance grants will provide rental assistance to ensure folks can keep a roof over their heads and landlords can pay the mortgage.”

New Mexico previously was awarded more than $16.7 million in HUD grants.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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