Albuquerque, NM
United States

Organizers in the Land of Enchantment 
Social media handle(s)
@Housing505 (Twitter)

Examined barriers to stable and healthy housing for renters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and supported community organizing to improve access to quality affordable housing.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a long history of property owner-friendly laws and regulations that have led to housing instability, poor living conditions, and unaffordability—particularly for renters with low incomes and households of color. These communities are concentrated in neighborhoods with high eviction rates and low-quality housing, contributing to adverse physical and mental community health outcomes. Despite this long history of instability and structural racism, the city has almost no history of renter organizing to help residents maintain healthy and stable housing.

Amparo gathered and analyzed data to understand the barriers tenants face to staying housed and aimed to address these challenges through coalition-building and organizing focused on improving access to quality affordable housing and dismantling structural inequities related to housing and health. Amparo was supported in this work by Organizers in the Land of Enchantment (OLE), a well-known community-based organization with a strong history of local organizing.

Amparo and OLE collected data from local renters through interviews and community events. Canvassers knocked on more than 15,000 doors and learned about the challenges renters are facing, including rising rental costs, lease-up fees, and the poor condition of units. Amparo and OLE then held Allies Circles, which were focus groups with residents that allowed them to dig deeper into some of these issues. They plan to hold a Community Photo Voice event, which will feature resident photos that align with prompts pulled from Allies Circle discussions. They hope to amplify tenant voices with this event and reach local and state policy makers. This project has galvanized tenant organizing in the region and Amparo plans to continue to support organizing efforts around housing affordability and quality, including advocating for local policy changes.