How we can solve the housing crisis in Nevada

We hosted an in-community event with the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce to discuss housing supply and affordability challenges faced by Latinos in Nevada  

From left: Michelle Merced, CEO of UnidosUS Affiliate Neighborhood Housing Services Southern Nevada; Janet Murguía, UnidosUS President and CEO; Robert Gordon, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility

Over the past three decades, Latinos have been a driving force in the Nevada housing market, as the community’s homeownership rate rose from 39% in 1990 to 52.5% in 2022.  

However, the Hispanic homeownership rate still lags that of white homeowners by 15.3 percentage points. And today, high rental costs and other factors are making it hard for Latinos to save for a home.  

On June 6, 2024, UnidosUS and the Latin Chamber of Commerce, hosted an in-community event, “Strengthening Latino Communities: Addressing Housing Crisis and Promoting Homeownership Solutions” in Las Vegas, Nevada. The roundtable convened state and local policymakers and community leaders—including from the UnidosUS Affiliate Network—to identify and address the pressing housing challenges faced by Latinos in Nevada. Joining the conversation was Robert Gordon with the White House Domestic Policy Council. 

SOLUTIONS THAT EMERGED INCLUDED: 

  • Increase down-payment assistance for Hispanic first-time homebuyers 

  • Provide culturally relevant housing counseling 

  • Use tax credits to build and renovate affordable housing 

  • Promote community land trusts for affordable housing 

  • Expand housing vouchers for low-income renters 

In her opening remarks, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía underscored our organization’s long-standing commitment to tackling Latino housing issues through comprehensive strategies.  

“Latinos are the future of Nevada’s housing market, with one-third of Latino Nevadans in their prime homebuying years,” she said. “But Latinos in Nevada who are looking to buy a home are finding it increasingly harder to do so, exacerbating that gap between white and Hispanic homeowners.” 

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Robert Gordon, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility, shared the Biden-Harris administration’s priorities which include:  

  • Increasing Supply, by significantly increasing federal investment in housing, repurposing underutilized federal properties for affordable housing and expanding tax credits for developers to build low-income housing, ensuring a steady increase in affordable rental units and starter homes. 
  • Expanding Access to Homeownership by supporting down payment assistance for first-time, first-generation homebuyers and providing tax credits for first-time homebuyers and starter-home sellers.
  • Protecting Renters by proposing a comprehensive Blueprint for a Tenants Bill of Rights, which includes protections against unjust evictions, and by fighting against rent gouging, junk fees, and other unfair practices. 

Participants, including community-based housing counselors from our Affiliate Network, discussed low housing supply and high costs, which disproportionately affect Latino communities, impacting community stability and economic growth. 

The role of local governments and community organizations in shaping housing opportunities for Latinos was examined. Participants emphasized the need for supportive policies to prepare today’s renters to become tomorrow’s homeowners, including: 

  • Exploring the availability of federal land for affordable housing development: This possibility has the potential to significantly increase the housing supply.  
  • First-generation and first-time home buyer down payment assistance programs: Developing and expanding programs specifically designed to support Latino first-generation and first-time home buyers can significantly lower the barrier to homeownership. 
  • Culturally relevant housing counseling: Offering housing counseling that meets the culturally specific and culturally relevant needs of the Latino community ensures that advice and support are accessible and effective, increasing the chances of successful homeownership. 
  • Buyer protections from changes in real estate commission rules: Strengthening buyer protections amid changes to real estate commission rules is essential to safeguard consumers and maintain fair market practices. 
  • Expanding the use and access of community land trusts: Promoting and facilitating the use of community land trusts can provide long-term affordable housing solutions by ensuring that land remains available for community benefit rather than private profit. 
  • Leveraging the federal home loan banks: Utilizing the resources of federal home loan banks to build and fund more affordable housing can address supply shortages. 
  • Expanding the housing voucher program: Increasing the scope and accessibility of housing vouchers is vital to meeting the needs of low-income renters. 

Find out more about our movement to enable the creation of 4 million new Hispanic homeowners by 2030: UnidosUS HOME initiative 

Eric Rodriguez, UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, presented data regarding homeownership and housing issues in Nevada.

The roundtable is part of a series of activities and engagements to spotlight economic issues and solutions for the Latino community, and particularly spotlight housing. The following representatives and organizations participated in the meeting: 

  • Andrea Garcia, Community Services of Nevada 
  • Dyana Melchor, Community Liaison for Clark County Commission 
  • Dagny Stapleton, Community Housing Administrator, Commissioner Segerblom’s Office 
  • Eric Chavez, Assistant Housing Director, CPLC NV 
  • Eric Rodriguez, SVP, Policy and Advocacy, UnidosUS 
  • Isaac Barron, Councilmember, City of North Las Vegas 
  • Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS 
  • Michelle Merced, Neighborhood Housing Services Southern Nevada 
  • Nohemi Pena, Community Services of Nevada 
  • Nora Aguirre, National President, NAHREP 
  • Olivia Diaz, Councilmember 
  • Robert Gordon, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility, White House 
  • Selena Torres, Assemblymember 
  • Verise Campbell, Nevada Affordable Housing Assistance Corporation 
  • Sonia Joya, Latin Chamber of Commerce Board Member 
  • Walter Flores, Latin Chamber of Commerce Board Member 
  • Maite Salazar, Latin Chamber of Commerce Board Member 
  • Zoila Sanchez, Latin Chamber of Commerce Board Member 
  • Jose Luis Cedillo, Latin Chamber of Commerce 
  • Carlos Gomez, Latin Chamber of Commerce 
  • Joi Holliday-Sparrow, District Director, Office of Congressman Steven Horsford 

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