Saturday, May 22, 2010

New TV Ad: Diane Denish Highlights Her Fight to Reform Regional Housing Authorities


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Democrat Diane Denish's second TV ad of her 2010 campaign for governor highlights her fight to reform the regional housing authorities and save taxpayer dollars. Her efforts resulted in tough new oversight of the authorities. Several indictments were also handed down in the aftermath of this reform effort.

The 30-second ad begins airing statewide on broadcast and cable today. The transcript of the ad is below the break.

Diane Denish will be a different kind of Governor -- and New Mexicans know that’s true because she’s been a different kind of Lieutenant Governor," Campaign Manager Oren Shur said in a statement released today. "It’s not easy to stand up to the insiders and the establishment, but that’s what Diane Denish has done and it's what she'll do as governor.”

The Denish campaign released two documents as companion pieces to the new ad. One backs up the statements (pdf) made in the ad with facts and the other is a narrative account of how the revelations of whistleblower Frances Williams resulted in actions taken by Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and others to produce reform legislation and indictments.

Transcript of Denish Ad:

Frances Williams: Five million dollars was just wasted. Five million dollars squandered.

Voice Over: When whistle blower Frances Williams uncovered corruption at the Housing Authority, she needed someone to take on Santa Fe insiders. She turned to Diane Denish.

Frances Williams: Diane listened to me. She was outraged, she took action, she investigated.

Voice Over: Today four people are under indictment and the Housing Authority has tough oversight because Diane Denish wouldn't back down.

Frances Williams: She has the courage of her convictions. She will get it done.

May 22, 2010 at 01:16 PM in 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Crime, Diane Denish, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Housing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Guest Blog: USDA Offers Funding Opportunities for NM Projects

Terry_Brunner_USDA-RD This is a guest blog by Terry Brunner, State Director of the New Mexico Office of USDA Rural Development.

We are at a critical juncture in New Mexico’s history as we approach our Centennial in 2012. Of great concern to us all should be how our rural communities will fare over the next 100 years. Will they continue to struggle or will we make the investments and decisions now to allow for their renewal and prosperity during the century ahead?

Before us lies an extraordinary opportunity, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the Stimulus), to make immediate and necessary investments in our rural communities.

The United States Department of Agriculture New Mexico Rural Development office saw funding increases in many of its programs as a result of the Stimulus. USDA Rural Development in New Mexico almost tripled its regular programmatic spending for dozens of new projects in Fiscal Year 2009 to $354 million. We hope to have another banner year in FY 2010 before the Stimulus expires in September.

As we see tight budgets at the state and local level in New Mexico there is no better time for New Mexico’s communities to consider USDA funding for their projects. USDA Rural Development offers programs in three areas: Community Development, Business and Housing.

Businesses and value added agricultural producers in New Mexico communities with a population less than 50,000 are eligible for our Business Programs. Most types of new or existing enterprises qualify -- manufacturing, wholesale, retail or service. We offer up to a 90% loan guarantee for bankable projects as large as $10 million and can provide smaller guarantees on proposals as high as $25 million. It is our goal to guarantee at least $29 million in business loan guarantees around New Mexico this fiscal year.

We also offer programs to help businesses and agricultural producers save on energy costs. Our Renewable Energy for America program allows USDA to cover 25% of any renewable energy or energy efficiency project for a rural business or an ag producer. If your farm or business hopes to install a new water heater, upgrade swamp coolers or even take advantage of solar, wind power or biodiesel; USDA would like to help with that investment.

For those producers that add value to an agricultural product, we provide up to $100,000 in grant funding for planning costs and up to $300,000 for working capital. Value added projects can include a wide variety of efforts such as turning tomatoes into salsa, carving wood products, and making a popcorn product from locally-grown corn.

On the community side, the stimulus program enhanced greatly our ability to loan and grant to communities less than 20,000 in population for community facilities. USDA Rural Development can invest in community facilities, such as: health care facilities, community centers, libraries, roads, emergency services, and community greenhouses -- just to name a few.

Water and Wastewater infrastructure is of tremendous importance to rural communities in our state. In communities under 10,000, USDA offers loans and grants to help with water and wastewater systems. Hundreds of New Mexico communities have participated in this program over the years and we are prepared to help many more.

To be competitive and innovative, rural communities need access to modern telecommunications. The stimulus set aside billions to increase broadband access in rural America and USDA Rural Development spent $199 million alone in rural New Mexico last year for broadband and telecommunications infrastructure. Not only do we invest in the first, middle and last mile of telecommunications infrastructure but we are very interested in supporting distance learning, telemedicine and other efforts that connect rural communities to the power of the internet.

When we talk about the sustainability of our rural communities, nothing says sustainability more than providing families the ability to make their home in rural New Mexico. In communities under 10,000, USDA provides home loans, home loan guarantees and grants for the construction, purchase or renovation of a home. More than 6,500 New Mexicans currently use our housing programs.

This is just a sample of the many programs USDA Rural Development has to offer. The Stimulus presents New Mexico with unprecedented opportunities to improve the quality of life in rural New Mexico and give rural communities the tools they need to prosper. The time to act is now, while federal agencies like the USDA have the resources to make more investments than ever. If you are interested in any of these programs, I hope you will contact the USDA Rural Development office in New Mexico at 505-761-4950.

This is a guest blog by Terry Brunner, who was appointed by President Barack Obama on September 3, 2009 to serve at State Director for the New Mexico Office of USDA Rural Development.

To submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

February 2, 2010 at 06:57 PM in Agriculture, Broadband, Business, Energy, Finance, Investments, Housing, Obama Administration, Rural Issues, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Rep. Harry Teague's 'Solutions for Southern New Mexico' Tour Highlights Local Projects

Harryteague
Rep. Teague listening to a constituent

Congressman Harry Teague has been traveling hundreds of miles within New Mexico's massive Second Congressional District (map) during the holiday recess to touch base with constituents. Besides listening to the views of those he's dedicated to representing, he's been spreading the word about the many projects he's helping to bring to the District during this era of economic challenges. Every dollar helps.

On Tuesday, January 5th, Rep. Teague stopped in Reserve, and traveled to Milan and Grants on Wednesday, January 6th, on his “Solutions for Southern New Mexico” tour. He continued to Socorro, Belen, Los Lunas and Bosque Farms on January 7th and 8th. During the weeklong tour Congressman Teague will visit all 18 counties in the 2nd Congressional District.

As part of his “Solutions for Southern New Mexico Tour,” Congressman Harry Teague is hosting a total of 20 “Harry in Your Hometown” events to meet with constituents throughout the district. According to a statement released by his office, the events held to date have been well attended and Congressman Teague has discussed issues ranging from improving veterans services, to healthcare and the state of the economy. On the economy front, Congressman Teague has updated constituents on the work he is doing to invest in communities create jobs and help turn the local economy around.

In addition to investments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congressman Harry Teague has worked with community leaders across southern New Mexico to secure funding for local projects, including:

Catron County:

  • Reinvesting in our Communities. The Village of Reserve received over $1 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funds, which Congressman Teague helped to bring to the city, were used for the rehabilitation of downtown Reserve, main streets and transportation enhancements.

  • Housing Improvement Projects. Congressman Teague worked with tribal leaders to secure over $1.3 million in stimulus funds for multiple housing improvement projects in the Zuni Pueblo. The funding went towards 15 projects that improved housing facilities and living conditions in the pueblo.

Cibola County:

  • Keeping Kids Safe. Congressman Teague worked to secure $350,000 in funding for Acoma Pueblo’s Youth Mentoring Program. The funds will create a mentoring program for teenagers that have been identified as “high risk” by the Pueblo of Acoma tribal court system. The program aims to lower delinquency and related indicators such as substance abuse, violent behavior and truancy among Native youth and increase the number of high risk youth receiving mentoring. Teenagers involved in the program and high school peer mentors will have access to employment skills training and opportunities to experience adventure, skills-based activities intended to decrease risk factors associated with juvenile delinquency.

  • Increasing Transportation Resources. The Pueblo of Laguna received $96,250 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve public transportation in the area. With the funding, the pueblo purchased an 8-passenger van with lift, a new bus shelter/garage for vehicles, and administrative office supplies.

Socorro County:

  • Furthering Space Innovation. Congressman Teague worked to secure $4 million for Smart Instrument Development at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory, operated in part by New Mexico Tech. The funding will be used to support the development and sustainment of smart, advanced instrumentation for imaging space objects. This is in support of the existing MRO mission and will advance the capabilities of the observatory, particularly in the area of Space Situational Awareness (SSA).

  • Strengthening Infrastructure. The Rio Grande Floodway project from San Acacia To Bosque Del Apache received $756,000 in funding to reconstruct approximately 44 miles of existing west side spoil bank levee located along the Rio Grande. The effort will enhance the protection of the Rio Grande Low-flow Conveyance Channel from Rio Grande flooding.

Valencia County:

  • Enhancing Local Law Enforcement. Congressman Teague worked with community leaders to secure $400,000 for the Valencia County Law Enforcement Uniform Records Management System. Instituting the technology for a uniform law enforcement records management system for Valencia County will benefit all Law Enforcement in Valencia County, including the municipalities of Los Lunas, Belen, Bosque Farms and Peralta. The technology will allow all officers with every agency in the county to use and access the same records management system from the computers in their cars.

  • Making Homes Energy Efficient. Central New Mexico Housing, Inc. was awarded $143,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The funding was used to provide weatherization assistance to 24 low-income home owners in Valencia County. The efforts aim to reduce energy consumption and improve energy retention-including installing insulation for homes and modernizing large appliances such as air conditioners and heating units.

January 8, 2010 at 01:06 PM in Children and Families, Economy, Populism, Housing, Law Enforcement, Native Americans, Obama Administration, Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02), Transportation | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Terry Brunner Guest Editorial: USDA Rural Development Marks 60th Anniversary of Housing Act of 1949

TerryBrunner1 This is a guest editorial by Terry Brunner, who's the State Director of USDA Rural Development in New Mexico.

2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the passage of the Housing Act of 1949. The Act was the result of a bi-partisan effort led by President Truman and Senator Robert Taft to pass legislation that pledged a “decent home and suitable living environment for every American family” at a time in our nation’s history when 30% of living units lacked one or more basic plumbing facilities.

This year USDA is celebrating the signing of this law with special events and ceremonies across the nation. Last week, in Anthony, New Mexico, we presented more than $600,000 to Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation to help low income New Mexicans buy or rehabilitate their home.

Many Americans do not know that the Department of Agriculture plays a major role in providing homeownership and home repair assistance to millions of citizens living in rural areas. USDA became involved in housing as a direct result of the poor living conditions farm laborers faced in the early 20th Century. Since that time, housing quality and ability has certainly improved but as the recent home lending crisis proved, dependable housing continues to be at-risk.

USDA is there to help. We provide loans and grants to help individuals build, buy or improve their home. We provide assistance to those seeking to rent and to seniors who want just want to stay in their home.

To date, Rural Development has issued more than $124 billion in housing loans, grants and loan guarantees that have helped 3.4 million rural Americans purchase or improve their existing home. Here in New Mexico, Rural Development has made more than $355 million dollars in loans and grants to more than 7800 families in the last 60 years.

In communities of 20,000 or less we have programs that help prospective homeowners buy a home with no money down, eliminate mortgage insurance or provide 100% financing. Those that are interested may contact one of our offices in Albuquerque, Aztec, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Los Lunas, and Roswell.

When President Lincoln created the USDA he called it "The Peoples Department” and we will continue to strive for excellence in the delivery of our programs to our fellow citizens who live in rural America. The USDA seeks to ensure that everyone has access to better housing, clean water and good jobs through the funding programs we oversee.

TERRY BRUNNER
USDA Rural Development
State Director

To submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog or editorial, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

November 16, 2009 at 04:25 PM in Guest Blogger, Housing, Rural Issues | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

At Last: Bingaman Reports Senate Approved Unemployment Benefits Bill

You may recall that GOP Senators have been on a mission to delay or quash legislation to extend unemployment benefits to those suffering in a struggling economy characterized by continuing job losses. They've been stalling and trying to add unrelated amendments about things like ACORN, immigration and stimulus money to muck up the process. After much ado, Dems finally managed to get the legislation to the Senate Floor for a vote, where it passed 98-0.

Senator Jeff Bingaman said in a statement released today that he is pleased the Senate has approved legislation to extend unemployment benefits to thousands of New Mexicans who have been unable to find a job in this difficult economic climate.

The bill would extend unemployment insurance by up to 14 additional weeks for jobless workers in all states and up to 20 weeks in hard-hit states with unemployment levels at or above 8.5 percent. New Mexico’s unemployment rate as of September was 7.7 percent, up from 4.3 percent a year ago.

“Like the rest of the country, New Mexico is feeling the effects of the current economic situation,” Bingaman said. “While it is not a permanent solution, unemployment benefits provide many families with temporary relief as they continue to look for work. I am pleased it has cleared another hurdle.”

The bill does the following:

  • Extend unemployment insurance by up to 14 additional weeks for jobless workers who exhaust their benefits by Dec. 31; and
  • Extend benefits for an six additional weeks for workers who exhaust their unemployment benefits by Dec. 31, in states with unemployment levels over 8.5 percent.

The bill does the following to encourage new home-buying:

  • Extend through April 30, 2010 the tax credit for first-time homebuyers (up to $8,000 or up to 10 percent of the purchase price of the residence), allowing 60 days to close (July 1, 2010), provided that the homes are under a binding contract by April 30;
  • Provide homebuyer tax credit of up to $6,500 to owners who have been in the same principal residence for five consecutive years during the previous eight years;
  • Increase the income limitations to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for joint filers;
  • Phase out the credit for individuals with incomes above $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for joint filers at the same rate as current law (over the next $20,000);
  • Limit the credit to purchases of principal residences equal to or less than $800,000;
  • Eliminate the 36-month recapture requirement for military personnel, including members of the Foreign Service and intelligence community, forced to sell as a result of an official extended duty of service; and
  • Extend the tax credit for one year for military personnel serving outside the United States for at least 90 days in 2009 or 2010.

The bill must now be approved by the House of Representatives before it can be signed into law. It's expected to pass quickly.

November 4, 2009 at 04:56 PM in Economy, Populism, Housing, Jobs, NM Congressional Delegation, Sen. Jeff Bingaman | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Terry Brunner, Saloman Ramiriz Sworn in Today to New USDA Posts in NM

SwearingInBrunner
Left to Right: Salomon Ramirez, FSA State Director,
Dennis Alexander, NRCS State Conservationist and Terry Brunner, Rural Development State Director (click image for larger)

Farm Service Agency State Executive Director Salomon Ramirez and Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner took the oath of office today during ceremonies at the USDA Building in Albuquerque.

Natural Resources Conservation Services, State Conservationist and Chair of the State Food & Agriculture Council (NM FAC), Dennis Alexander administered the oath of office which completes the appointment made by President Barack Obama late last month.

Congratulations to Terry Brunner and Salomon Ramirez! They deserve it. There are only four Presidential appointees in New Mexico, including the US Attorney and US Marshal and the state directors for RD and FSA.

Terry Brunner will oversee USDA Rural Development in New Mexico. Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in rural communities by funding emerging and expanding businesses, construction of affordable housing, new and updated water/wastewater systems and community buildings. Currently, Rural Development is obligating millions of dollars in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for numerous projects across the state, including the expansion of service by electric and telephone co-operatives. Recovery Act funds for rural projects support President Obama’s goal of rebuilding and revitalizing the nation's rural infrastructure.

Salomon Ramirez will oversee USDA’s Farm Service Agency which is dedicated to equitably serving all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. New Mexico FSA delivered over $62.5 million in federal program payments and loans to New Mexico farmers and ranchers during FY 2008. Salomon has served in various positions in FSA for the last 31 years.

Immediately following the swearing in ceremony, a reception and an open house at the USDA building was hosted by the staffs of both agencies in honor of their new directors.

See my earlier post about the appointment of Terry Brunner. Many of you know him as he previously served as Sen. Jeff Bingaman's State Director.

October 2, 2009 at 04:30 PM in Agriculture, Business, Energy, Events, Government, Housing, Obama Administration, Rural Issues, Water Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Guest Blog: Taxpayers Being Fleeced in Albuquerque by NAHB

This is a guest blog by Greg Lennes, Las Cruces resident and retired Business Executive.

Taxpayers are being fleeced in Albuquerque. This time it's the National Association of Homebuilders (“NAHB”) seeking their own bailout in Albuquerque. The organization is running a national campaign to reduce or suspend impact fees that are vital to building infrastructure and for an orderly growth in cities.

So let me get this straight. Bad and unscrupulous lending and borrowing decisions were the culprits in the real estate market collapse. Now the NAHB is sending a speaker criss-crossing the country including my city -- Las Cruces -- telling local governments of the evils of impact fees. According to a number of authoritative studies like that of the Brookings Institution (see here), there is no evidence that cutting the impact fees results in any increase in residential or non-residential construction.

Dr. David Swenson, an Iowa State University economist unmistakably said that NAHB's housing and economic model is "a victim of flawed thinking. It's absolutely not possible for a community to grow itself into prosperity by building new homes. It's not the idea that 'if you build it, they will come.' It's actually the idea that if people come, you will build homes for them." The "build first" mentality will ruin the budget of a city. Click to read Mr. Swenson's excellent letter (pdf) on the subject.

The NAHB is throwing around all kinds of bogus data and statistics to convince municipalities and counties of the need to decrease impact fees for a quick-fix. As Mark Twain so aptly stated: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." So if a city slashes impact fees for essential roads, sewers, water lines, etc., it is obvious taxes will have to go up. This will be a disaster for Albuquerque and taxpayers. The NAHB and its members have to remember the 1930's adage that "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." Mayor Chavez and the Albuquerque City Council have made a big blunder.

A bill package originally proposed by Mayor Martin Chavez to reduce or waive impact fees for one year was narrowly passed by the Albuquerque City Council this past Wednesday. The vote was 5-4 with support from Councilors Ken Sanchez, Trudy Jones, Sally Mayer, Brad Winter and Don Harris. Opposed were Isaac Benton, Debbie O'Malley, Michael Cadigan and Rey Garduño. The legislation would cut impact fees in half for the next year for most projects, with a full waiver available for development that meets certain "green" requirements. Check out this piece by Marjorie Childress at NMI for background on this issue.

This is a guest blog by Greg Lennes. You can read his previous guest blogs here and here. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

September 11, 2009 at 11:49 AM in Business, City of Albuquerque, Corporatism, Economy, Populism, Guest Blogger, Housing, Jobs, Land Issues, Las Cruces, Sprawl Development, Urban Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rep. Heinrich Intros HEARTH Act to Ease Homeownership for Native American Families


Rep. Heinrich introduces HEARTH Act before the US House

New Mexico's freshman members of Congress have been very proactive in introducing legislation and amendments to help our state. US Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) is no exception. Today he introduced legislation aimed at removing barriers between Native American families and homeownership. According to a statement released by Rep. Heinrich's office, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership (HEARTH) Act would expedite the lease approval process by allowing tribal governments to approve trust land leases and submit them directly to the Secretary of the Interior. The HEARTH Act would remove existing bureaucratic and time obstacles prospective Native American home owners encounter when seeking approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to buy a home on tribal land.

“We can put the dream of owning a home on tribal land within reach of Native families,” said Rep. Heinrich. “This bill would cut through bureaucratic red tape and open doors to homeownership for Native American families in New Mexico and across the country.”

Currently, before Native families can close on the sale of a house, they need approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to lease the land the house is built on. That approval can take between six months and two years. A seller is rarely able to wait two years to sell their house and banks are often unable to hold a mortgage approval for that long. This delay often results in a family deciding to move off tribal land because it’s the only way they can own a house, even when they would rather stay in the community where their family has lived for generations.

Zuni Pueblo Governor Norman Cooeyate said in a written statement, "This legislation provides more of our tribal community members the chance to achieve the dream of their fellow Americans: home ownership. Access to new financial services on tribal land reduces the financial burden on our families and breaks down barriers to keeping our community intact."

“With this legislation, Representative Heinrich has shown his commitment to reforming Federal laws in a manner that respects tribal authority and decision-making. This is good legislation that improves the delivery of housing assistance and related economic development to meet the needs of Indian Country,” said Marty Shuravloff, Chairman of the National American Indian Housing Council. “We heard from our members that they need these reforms and we are committed to seeing this bill signed into law this year.”

May 20, 2009 at 11:58 AM in Economy, Populism, Housing, Native Americans, NM Congressional Delegation, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Rep. Heinrich to Host Housing Summit and Housing Assistance Workshop

MHeinrich2cropU.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich today announced he will host an Albuquerque summit to address the housing crisis and how the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act” will affect New Mexico’s First Congressional District. The event is set for Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 12:30 PM at Los Volcanes Senior Center, 6500 Los Volcanes NW, in Albuquerque (Map).

Panelists:

  • Adam Consiglio, New Mexico Association of Mortgage Brokers President-Elect
  • Angela Muxworthy, New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union Mortgage Director and President of New Mexico Mortgage Lenders Association
  • Erik Nore, Mortgage Finance Authority Director
  • Frank Padilla, HUD Community Planning and Development Field Office Director

12:30 to 1:30 PM: HOUSING SUMMIT
Join U.S. Rep. Martin Heinrich and local housing advocates for a summit focusing on the housing crisis and how the “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act” affects working families in New Mexico’s First Congressional District.

1:30 to 3:00 PM: HOUSING ASSISTANCE WORKSHOP
Mortgage counselors, representatives from the banking and housing industries, and local housing resource organizations will be available to help constituents access the support necessary to help our community weather the housing crisis and home value depreciation.

Also, check out a summary of Rep. Heinrich's First 100 Days in Office to learn what he's been up to in this, his freshman year as the First District's Congressman.

April 20, 2009 at 05:29 PM in Economy, Populism, Events, Housing, NM Congressional Delegation, Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rep. Luján to Participate in Ground Breaking for Affordable, Energy Efficient Home in Santa Fe

Note: Congressman Lujan's office has published a revised schedule (pdf) of Congress On Your Corner Events for the period April 13-18, 2009.

Tomorrow, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D, NM-03) will join Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity, YouthWorks, Santa Fe Community College, Oshara Village, and Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association to break ground for an affordable, energy efficient home. The event takes place at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, April 14, at 54 Willow Back Road in Oshara Village in Santa Fe.

“Building energy efficient homes helps save families money and create green jobs,” said Rep. Luján in a statement released today. “This project should serve as a model for energy efficient home building that can help families across New Mexico live in houses that are good for our planet and our pocket books. By building energy efficient homes and weatherizing existing homes, we can create green jobs and help grow a new, clean energy economy in New Mexico.”

This project is a partnership between Santa Fe Community College, Youthworks!, Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association and Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. The groups are working together to train at risk teens in green building while constructing energy efficient homes for Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. Training local youths in green building will help create a workforce that is essential to growing a clean energy economy in New Mexico. The program is called "Training Today's Youth for Tomorrow's Jobs."

Rep. Luján will join the partner organizations to break ground for an affordable, energy efficient home that will be located on 54 Willow Back Road in Oshara Village. Once the home is complete, a Santa Fe resident and her three children will move into the home.

Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Luján was a member of the Extraterritorial Zoning Commission in Santa Fe County where he worked with his colleagues to approve the development of Oshara Village, a state of the art sustainable community. Oshara Village is a community that uses energy efficiency, water reclamation and mixed-use design.

April 13, 2009 at 01:57 PM in Green Economy, Housing, NM Congressional Delegation, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NM House Delegation Announce $9 Million+ in Recovery Fund Housing Grants

Newlogo-thumbToday, Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D, NM-03), Harry Teague (D, NM-02) and Martin Heinrich (D, NM-01) released a statement announcing that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding $9,313,573 in Capital Funds to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in New Mexico through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Capital Funds grants are for the development, financing, and modernization of public housing developments and for management improvements.

The funding can be used to improve energy efficiency for public housing and provides for investments in large scale improvements. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding $2.985 billion in Capital Funds to PHAs participating in the public housing program throughout the nation.

Click for a breakdown (pdf) of Capital Fund grants in New Mexico by location.

“These grants to public housing agencies will help New Mexicans who need help the most while creating and saving jobs through a wide range of projects,” said Rep. Luján. “It is encouraging that funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is making its way into communities across New Mexico and helping families during these tough economic times.”

“Not only will this funding create jobs repairing and modernizing these facilities throughout southern New Mexico, it will also improve the energy efficiency of these facilities and that will save everyone money in the long run.” said Rep. Teague.

“These funds will allow for significant public housing improvements in the First Congressional District,” said Rep. Heinrich. “This is yet another example of the immediate impact that the Recovery funding is having in our community.”

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the funding is allocated through an established formula and will allow local housing agencies to address the long-standing capital needs of public housing, create jobs, and increase energy efficiency. PHAs are to give priority to projects that are ready to begin construction rapidly. PHAs are also to prioritize construction that will increase energy efficiency and lower the long term costs of operating public housing.

For more information, visit HUD’s Recovery website.

March 25, 2009 at 12:52 PM in Economy, Populism, Housing, NM Congressional Delegation, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02), Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) | Permalink | Comments (0)