Evictions in the COVID-19 Era: A threat to family and community health in Santa Fe

April 2021

We developed a series of research briefs in partnership with Chainbreaker Collective to examine the scale and public health impacts of the COVID-19 era eviction crisis on renter households in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Thousands of Santa Feans are experiencing a crisis within a crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies: They are at significant risk of being evicted as federal, state, and local eviction moratoria expire and leave families vulnerable to homelessness and the myriad health consequences that follow. This 3-part research series examines the context, scale, and public health impacts of the COVID-19 era eviction crisis on renters – and offers recommendations to keep Santa Feans housed and healthy through the pandemic and beyond.

Santa Fe’s residents struggled to access stable and affordable housing long before the pandemic. Almost half of all renters in Santa Fe are rent burdened, spending at least 30% of their income on rent. And almost all low-income renter households (96%) experience rent burden. Numerous factors, such as gentrification, the rising cost of housing, predatory rent increases, and a lack of regulations to protect renters create an affordable housing crisis, further compounded by stagnant income and wages.

Evictions in the COVID-19 Era: A threat to family and community health in Santa Fe

In the first research brief of this series, we describe Santa Fe’s housing insecurity crisis, which predates the COVID-19 pandemic. We highlight gaps in eviction moratoria at the local, state, and federal levels. These policies lack strong or comprehensive protections to guarantee that all renters will remain housed and healthy, particularly with climbing debt from back rent. Additionally, none of the moratoria are fully holding up their promise of keeping families housed — evictions have continued throughout the pandemic.

Open Brief I

Successes and limitations of moratoria to keep people housed and healthy in Santa Fe

In the second brief of this series, we reveal the reality of the eviction crisis in Santa Fe using new public records data on eviction filings. We compare trends in 2020 eviction filings to prior years and explore how the major causes of eviction filings have changed over time. Finally, we describe disparities in eviction filings at the census tract level, looking closely at the Hopewell/Mann and Airport Road Corridor neighborhoods of Santa Fe. These communities have experienced disproportionate housing insecurity, including displacement, gentrification, and rising cost of rent.

Open Brief II

Beyond Recovery

In the third and final brief, partners outline solutions local officials can implement to keep Santa Feans healthy and housed beyond recovery — with a specific focus on policies that are effective and sustainable to ensure families have access to affordable and quality housing now and for generations to come. This third brief is a collaboration between Chainbreaker Collective, PolicyLink, and Homes For All, a project of Right To The City Alliance.

Santa Fe has a critical opportunity to protect the health and wellbeing of renters. The city can continue to improve housing security for Santa Feans, during COVID-19 and beyond, by taking actions including expanding the local moratorium to alleviate burdens on renters, and enacting policies to increase transparency and accountability in landlord-tenant agreements.

To learn more about this research, contact Research Project Director Sukhdip Purewal Boparai at sukh@humanimpact.org