Back rent due for one, two or three months?

A lifeline will become available this week to help.

The New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority has $12.3 million in federal CARES Act funding to distribute in first-come, first-served fashion to New Mexicans who have suffered financially due to COVID-19-related layoffs, furloughs and wage reductions.

Recipients must meet specific criteria.

“We have never done a rent assistance program like this,” said Leann Kemp, the authority’s communications and marketing director. “We see every day how many New Mexicans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.”

The finance authority believes 60,000 to 80,000 renter households in New Mexico are unable to pay their rent and risk eviction, citing a September study commissioned by the National Council of State Housing Agencies.

The finance authority is offering up to $1,500 per month to cover up to three months of back rent or mortgage payments, or a total maximum of $4,500. The authority would pay the landlord or mortgage holder directly, Kemp said.

Missed payments on real estate contracts, as well as on mobile or manufactured home liens and the land or lots on which they are located, may also be covered.

With maximum distribution to each renter, the money could fund 2,733 households — more if applicants have lower rent payments.

The maximum income applicants can have is 80 percent of the area median wage. For Santa Fe County, the finance authority calculated a maximum income of $42,600 for a one-person household, $48,650 for two people, $54,750 for three people, $60,800 for four people and $65,700 for five people.

Wage reduction of 10 percent or greater for numerous reasons can also qualify for housing cost assistance.

The hardships must be directly related to financial changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Applicants must have been current on payments to housing providers as of Feb. 28, according to information provided by the finance authority.

The finance authority is a self-supporting quasi-governmental entity established by the state to provide financing to make quality affordable housing and other related services available to low- and moderate-income New Mexicans.

(2) comments

Caly Jahrmarkt

How and where do I register??

George Welland


I'm sure many could benefit from this program (mostly landlords who've been foregoing income for over half a year and finally may get a few months of overdue rent). But the public ought to question why this "self-sustaining quasi-governmental agency" is only now sending out money derived from the CARES Act that was signed on March 27, 2020?

More importantly, if the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) simply paid the people who are entitled to unemployment insurance (UI), instead of keeping them on hold on the phone, then maybe more folks would be current on their rent and not even need the rental assistance?

Perhaps the state legislature, when it convened briefly during the start of the pandemic, could have changed the state's punitive UI laws so it wouldn't be so difficult for NMDWS workers to award benefits to the jobless (instead of leaving a bunch of laws on the books that equate to hoops for claimants to jump through).

Waiting for New Mexican officials and politicians to do anything is an exercise in futility, as they don't even offer good fiddle music to enjoy while watching Rome burn. Oh so many questions, so few answers, I think that explains a lot!

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