By Will Costello, Santa Fe Reporter

The third time was a charm for New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing’s vision for a different kind of project in Santa Fe.

The nonprofit just learned it will get a big check for its Midtown development, the Siler Yard Arts and Creativity Center, via a $10 million grant from a federal affordable housing initiative that the state of New Mexico manages.Daniel Werwath, the chief operating officer of New Mexico Inter-Faith Housing, couldn’t wait to share the news. “We just got notification this evening that we got a preliminary award of low-income tax credits for the project,” Werwath tells SFR on Thursday night.Described as an affordable live-work rental project for artists on Siler Road, the idea has been in the works for quite some time. Inter-Faith Housing applied in two other funding cycles. A variety of other costs have been covered by other interested parties, such the National Endowment for the Arts and the city itself, which donated the land and promised to cover the costs of utilities like sewer lines and water. Creative Santa Fe is a project partner.

The 65-unit development is slated to include performance, exhibition and “micro-retail” space, a shared workshop and a classroom with programs such as entrepreneurship training to help residents transition to sustainable living and find connections to social services.The grant received on Thursday has always been the missing piece, comprising 60% of the development’s total construction costs, Werwath says, and now it’s in place.“It’s enough that basically the whole project moves forward,” Werwath says.The most affordable unit in the development will cost $390 per month, and all the homes and community spaces will be powered by solar energy, according to Werwath.Individuals who earn less than 60% of the area median income, about $28,000 or less for an individual, will qualify, and for families, the bar is lowered.

Werwath says he hopes the project will break ground in February of 2020, with a plan to begin leasing units in January of 2021.“This is real affordable housing for real people with limited means,” Werwath says.Another award from the same program went to the Santa Fe Civic Housing Authority.“Between the two of us we just got $18 million for affordable housing in Santa Fe,” Werwath says. “It’s a big deal.”

A community celebration is planned for 5:30-7:30 pm Thursday, May 9, at Tumbleroot Brewery (2791 Agua Fria St.).

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