Welcome to the CARE 66 blog. We are a small non profit whose mission is to create opportunities to end homelessness. We do this by providing support services and a variety of housing opportunities to our clients ranging from transitional housing to permanent housing with support services.

Friday, September 8, 2017

8th Mother Road Bicycle Classic


October 14, 2017

CARE 66 is proud to announce its Sixth Annual Mother Road Bicycle Classic fundraiser to be held Saturday October 14, 2017 to support affordable housing and support services for homeless people in Gallup. This pledge cycling event features a course through historic downtown Gallup, NM and surrounding area. 

Event Information

Four route alternatives for cyclists of all skill levels are available:
  • The Whole Enchilada 66 mile route click here
  • Habanero 40 mile route click here
  • Green Chili 20 mile route here
  • Red Chili 10 mile route here
Entry fee is $66 (plus raised pledges) per rider.  If you bring $150+ in pledges, your entry fee is waived. 

Please click here to download the Registration Packet which includes instructions for collecting and submitting pledges. 

Pledges can be as little as $5 or as much as $100,000.  You’ll be surprised at how the small ones add up.  All gifts are tax deductible. Instructions for collecting pledges are posted on our website (www.care66.org) and blog (care66.blogspot.com). 

Riders who raise more than $150 will receive a mug, and all registered riders will receive a commemorative t-shirt. 

Registration begins at 8:00 AM at the Lexington Hotel (407 West Highway 66 between 4th and 5th Streets) and all rides begin at 8:30 AM.  Some rides will be supported with food and drink stops as well as basic repair supplies. 

Please be advised that roads will not be closed for this event.  Riders will be responsible for following designated rules of the road and will be responsible for his or her safety.

All proceeds will help CARE 66 fulfill its mission “to create opportunities to end homelessness.

To register or to submit pledges, please click on our following secure Paypal link below.  If you register online, please put 4MRBC in the subject line:

Friday, February 17, 2017

NAHASDA Saved Lives
It Can Save More

It Created Affordable Housing and Services in Gallup

NAHASDA, a HUD funded program (Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996) administered by Indian tribes, has funded CARE 66 programs that given people a home and a second chance at life. NAHASDA is a very flexible program and when done right could stimulate investment, prosperity and access to opportunity.

In the light of the recent articles in the Arizona Republic and KOB Albuquerque, I would like to offer a few thoughts and some perspective, in no particular order.  I would also like to add that, in my experience, these revelations generally have negative impacts on the program.  NAHASDA has helped save lives in this community.

For the last ten years, CARE 66 has worked with the Navajo tribe to address homelessness and affordable housing in Gallup. 

About a third of the costs of renovating the Lexington Hotel came from the Navajo Nation.  The Lexington Hotel provides shelter, it is also great example of the Housing First model of permanent supportive housing in Gallup.  A majority of our clients are Navajo.

Similarly, the Nation contributed about 68% or $7.1 million of the development costs for Hooghan Ho’zho in downtown Gallup.  Thirty of the units are set aside for Native American families.

·         Leadership: A lot depends upon the capacity and vision of the leadership.  Our projects were correctly perceived to be innovative.  By extension, innovative is difficult.  It requires persistence, engagement and hard work. 

·         Learning: Innovation demands learning.  We had to learn how to work off reservation with rules designed for working on reservations.  We had to learn to trust and to recognize that setbacks would be part of the process. 

·         Partnership: Because the Nation was not providing all of the funding we had to learn to work with USDA, HUD, a private bank, a technical assistance provider and lender, and a religious lender.  In addition, we had to work within city, county and state regulations.

·         Flexibility: NAHASDA can be very flexible.  However, this flexibility needs to be implemented in a consensus across a range of departments and perspectives.  This takes a lot of meetings.

In the City of Gallup, our market study show that approximately 1000 Native American families are in need and able to afford some kind of affordable housing.  This is almost half the Native population of Gallup.

In conclusion, NAHASDA can work very well if all parties are willing to work together towards common goals.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hare Brained Idea?

Another Hare Brained Idea
The purpose of the CARE 66 is to end homelessness by providing homes that people can afford to rent or buy.
I am going to try to walk through some of the big picture thinking that we go through in the development of affordable housing.

What does affordability mean?
Affordability generally means that no more than 30% of a family’s income is spent on rent/mortgage, utilities and repairs.
For a family of four making less than $25,000 per year that would mean that they would pay about $7500 a year or $625 per month, for rent/mortgage, utilities, and repairs.  Think about that.
This family would have a monthly income of $2083 before taxes.  After deductions for taxes (17%) they would have $1729 to spend on groceries, transportation, rent/mortgage, utilities and repairs, shoes, clothes and other necessities of life.
Assume that utilities are $100 per month for gas, electricity, water, sewer, and garbage collection. And that repairs are about $50 a month.  That means their rent/mortgage should be $475. 
If this family has a girl, a boy and two parents, they should have a three-bedroom house with 1.75 bathrooms.  It would be possible to build a house with 800 square feet to accommodate this family.  The cost of building such a zoning-compliant house would be ideally around $135 per square foot plus the cost of land and taxes.
There is no garage and space is tight.
Total cost would be around $140,000.
A 30-year mortgage at 5% would be $676 including taxes and insurance after a 10% down payment of $14,000.  Think about that.  A family of four living in poverty having savings of $14,000 to spend on housing.  Extremely unlikely.
The question is: could a developer build and sell a house for $140,000 and make a profit? Or even cover the costs of the house?
            If they were renting from an affordable housing provider in Gallup.  They would be required to pay at least $500 for rent and to pay their own utilities.
            Using the numbers above this means that the developer would not be able to cover development costs or operating costs for the apartment from day one.

So how do we house families living in poverty?
            So what does this mean for people who have an income that is less than poverty? 
How do they afford a home? 
Can they buy a home or could they rent something?
What could they rent on an income of less than $12,000 per year? For $237 per month? Plus utilities.
            What we have here is a housing crisis.  And what is the solution to this problem?  A little more money into underfunded housing assistance programs that are overwhelmed with desperate families seeking homes?            
They can’t afford the security of a decent home.  Poverty is not good for health and education outcomes and there is not much hope for improved incomes.  As the generational poverty in this area proves.

The problem in Gallup?
            About 25% of the population in Gallup live in poverty.  That means more than 1600 families live in poverty.  A majority of these families are Native American in this town.
            Housing them at the ideal cost of $140,000 per unit would cost about $225 million.  No wonder nobody wants to do anything about this.  The problem is huge. Overwhelming.  More than ten times the city budget.  The real cost of a housing unit is between $175,000 and $200,000.
            I haven’t even got around to talking about operating costs, maintenance, rent collection, repairs, upgrades, insurance, taxes, personnel, and support services.  For a rental unit these costs are about $6800 per unit per year.  1600 units will cost about $10.8 million per year to operate.

The solution for Gallup
            There are resources out there.  Very few grants.  But a creative patching together of state, city and county money, tribal money and other affordable housing funding mechanisms, like tax credits could bring this money into town over a period of time.
            What do we need to make this work? 
1.      Political will.  As a community we are better at tearing down other people’s hard work than working towards a common goal.
2.      Commitment to housing all our citizens regardless of administration or political leadership changes at City Hall.
3.      A willingness to learn and implement housing ideas that are not your uncle’s 1950s ideal suburban dream.  In other words, repopulate downtown.  Build dense housing.  Create communities. Find alternatives to parking.  We need places i.e. homes for people to live not parking lots for cars.  In other words, we need to change our zoning code.

Let’s start with 500 units of apartments or condos
If we build 500 units of affordable housing that serves families with a wide spectrum of incomes in the next five years in the downtown, we will need an investment of more than $105 million.  That’s a lot of money. 
The operating costs for 500 units would be about $4 million per year plus debt service, assuming debt service to be about 25% of the development costs.
We could do 500 units if we had a guarantee for 10 years of operating costs. 
It’s the operating costs that make or break the sustainability of an affordable housing project.  Once capital costs have been incurred they are sunk costs that look good on a balance sheet.  And since the weakness of affordable housing is its lack of cash flow because of low rents because of low incomes, a check for operating costs would provide the missing link to sustainability and prosperity in this town.
I am not going to turn down a check for development costs.  But a guarantee of operating costs means that I can do a $10 to $12 million every year.  
More importantly, a guarantee of operating costs means that rents can be reduced to much less than 30% of a family’s income.  This has the benefit of increasing a families spending, increasing stability, improving health and education outcomes, reduction in the use of police and emergency rooms.
The other big beneficiary is the city.  A $105 million of investment in the downtown will improve our housing stock, get rid of eyesore buildings, and make the downtown the center of this community once again.  This investment will also attract private investors to develop non-affordable housing in the area.  The impact on retail and restaurants in the downtown will be significant.
Second, McKinley County and the City of Gallup will both share about $10 million in gross receipt taxes from construction. 
Third, more than 100 jobs will be created just by the construction. 

To Summarize
Affordable housing development has many components.  Two key cost areas are design/construction and operations.  Resources for design/construction would be more easily accessible if were a guarantee for operational costs with which pay the loans, maintain and repair the project, collect rents and ensure that housing goes to those who need it.
      The advantage to apartments is that there is reduced cost for land and it is possible to build a much higher density than suburban development.  Building apartments are more cost efficient than single-family homes.
In general, affordable housing improves property values in an area and housing low-income families puts more money into the local economy, while reducing the crime and improving health and wellbeing.
A ten-year $4million guarantee for annual operating costs and debt service would enable us to raise most of the money needed to develop 500 apartments.  
Mixed income developments prevent the concentration of poor families in an area, and contribute to the revitalization and prosperity of the downtown.
So who’s in? 

Send a check to CARE 66 at PO Box 4298, Gallup, NM 87305