Posted with permission from Hobbs News Sun.

NEWS-SUN

The City of Hobbs Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously recommended approval of a $1.57 million zero-interest loan for a 72-family unit subsidized housing complex on the city’s north side.

An artist rendering of the project can be seen at right.

“We see a huge need within the community for additional housing units, just given the economic boom that you guys are experiencing,” DenBleyker told the Hobbs News-Sun at the conclusion of Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting. “Within the credit program, we’re able to serve a range of incomes from very low income up to 80 percent of (area median income) and a good range of rents, so we feel like there’s a good range of people that will be served in the mixed-income community.”

Rental amounts for the planned apartments range from a low of $295 a month for a one-bedroom apartment to a high of $1,255 a month for a three-bedroom apartment. Rental rates would be based on the percent of a family’s income to the area median income.

In Hobbs, the area median income for a family of four is $66,900. A single person would need an annual income of less than $37,520 to qualify, DenBleyker said.

The development would consist of 12 one-bedroom units, 44 two-bedroom units, 16 three-bedroom units and a 2,000-square-foot community building, as well as two or three play areas for differently aged children.

Social service program elements would include the employment of a part-time, on-site service coordinator and a management and maintenance staff person.

“THIS PROGRAM COORDINATOR will assist with the provision of on-site health care, after-school recreational programs, tutoring programs, family education and prevention programs, as well as adult and youth job development through computer literacy training and online job search to any resident that is interested,” states a Yes Housing synopsis of the housing application. “There will also be a focus on money management and home ownership through the provision of financial literacy, debt counseling, and homebuyer counseling to residents.”

The Hobbs City Commission is scheduled to consider its approval of the $1.57 million loan at its Feb. 4 meeting. The loan’s term would be between 35 and 45 years. The city has approved similar loans for affordable apartment housing at Parkside Terrace, Park Place Apartments, Playa Escondida and New Leaf Apartments, said Kevin Robinson, the city’s development director.

“Keep in mind we’re at the very beginning of this process,” Robinson said. “We have not received a site plan for review or permits or none of that stuff. We’re looking strictly right now at the financing to secure the low-income housing tax credits.”

Yes Housing said the city’s approval of financial support would boost the city’s chances of being successful with its 2019 application for a Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

“More importantly, the new construction of this development will begin to satisfy the City of Hobbs’ need for quality, energy-efficient, affordable housing and assist in revitalizing the city’s housing stock,” states the Yes Housing synopsis.

The development would be financed by the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (NMMFA), a self-supporting quasi-governmental entity that provides financing to make quality subsidized housing and other related services available to low- and moderate-income New Mexicans.

THE NMMFA PROVIDES resources to build subsidized rental communities, rehabilitate aging homes, supply down payment assistance and subsidized mortgages, offer emergency shelter and administer rental assistance and subsidies using funding from housing bonds, tax credits and other federal and state agencies. The NMMFA partners with lenders, REALTORS, nonprofit organizations, local governments, tribal communities and developers throughout the state to make programs and services available to all eligible New Mexicans.

The East Navajo apartment complex would be immediately north of Eagle Ridge Apartments and west of Eagle Plaza, where the Ultra Health medical cannabis dispensary and other small businesses are located.

Access issues to the apartment complex were raised by the Planning Board, which said the single proposed driveway on East Navajo Drive might not be sufficient during rush-hour traffic. Robinson said an egress road, at a minimum, would also be required for approval.

DenBleyker said there’s a demonstrable need for affordable housing in Hobbs.

“We had a market study done back in November, and everyone of your affordable properties is a 100 percent occupied, with a waiting list,” she said.

Byron Marshall, a resident of New Leaf apartments, told the Planning Board that promises made to residents of that subsidized housing development never materialized, such as a functioning gate with a key code, an amphitheater, regular meetings and classes, and security cameras.

“My only concern is, if you’re going to give them another $1.5 million of taxpayer money, hold them accountable,” Marshall said. “Go talk to the people that live in these places.”

DenBleyker said New Leaf residents were never promised around-the-clock security cameras, frequent repairs of the apartment complex’s gate have been necessary after residents damaged it, and the amphitheater was never constructed because of a lack of funding.

“The cameras are for the benefit of the police department,” she said. “They’re not on-site security cameras.”

Jeff Tucker may be reached at managingeditor@hobbsnews.com .