ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — The city of Albuquerque is taking a step forward to close housing and wage gaps in minority communities.
“Our goal was to truly elicit and define the critical needs around housing in these two populations,” said Joseph Kunkel of Mass Design Group.
A new report from the City of Albuquerque Office of Justice and Inclusion highlights ways to close pay and housing gaps in Indigenous and African American communities.
“We are very excited to be part of the larger team within the Office for Justice and Inclusion to achieve what we can achieve from a design and planning perspective and to address these issues head-on,” said Kunkel.
With help from the Mass Design Group, a nonprofit design firm, the city’s report notes that there is still work to be done.
Kunkel added, “Both of these populations, the Native American population and the African American population, historically have not had direct access to housing or home ownership.”
The report states that black households in Albuquerque are less likely to own their homes. According to the report, less than 40% of Albuquerque’s Native Americans own their homes, and more than half of Black and Hispanic renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
While Hispanics in Albuquerque have relatively high homeownership rates, the report finds that their homes are valued far below that of white homeowners. The city plans to use this data to develop future programs and identify areas in the city where policy changes are needed.
Kunkel said: “If we think about the way we think about wealth creation, it ties directly to homeownership. Black and Native American populations just aren’t on the list.”
They examine whether the areas where the two communities live most often are the result of policies that have led to unfair outcomes. The report found that minority communities had more difficult access to everyday needs like grocery stores, gyms and parks.
“What we need to do is find an argument for why this work should be done and approach it in a way that really addresses the issues,” Kunkel said.
The report includes a list of recommendations, including providing grants to expand housing opportunities. According to the report, the city’s economy could grow by $11 billion if racial income gaps are closed.