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Housing summit slated for Monday

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Alex Ross Photo Bill Morris, community development director with the city of Roswell, speaks at a public forum Nov. 21 at Church on the Move. Morris said Tuesday the city of Roswell, along with the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation, will be hosting a housing summit Monday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center at 910 N. Main St.

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Housing in Roswell and Chaves County will be discussed Monday, Dec. 9 at a summit hosted by the city of Roswell and the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation.

The summit, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center at 910 N. Main St.

Bill Morris, community development director with the city of Roswell, said Tuesday individuals in the home building, real estate, banking and economic development sectors along with city and county officials and local state legislators will be at the summit.

He said the event will feature about eight speakers representing the different sectors, though a specific agenda was still being worked on Tuesday.

Morris said the objective of the summit is not so much to come up with a solution as much as it is to spark a conversation about the need for more and better quality housing in the area.

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“Really, this is trying to get different people in the housing market to get to know each other, to get to see each other, to understand that these other folks are in the room,” Morris said. “It’s really about trying to encourage people to talk to each other about possible deals, projects and that sort of thing.”

Housing is a major issue in Roswell and Chaves County, Morris said, in terms of both the quantity and quality of available housing units.

“A lot of our housing stock is getting old, I mean it is already old and so it needs to be replaced, provided with affordable housing for future workers,” he said, adding that some units also need to be rehabilitated.

Joe Neeb, city manager of Roswell, said at a forum hosted by the city in November, that with the oil and gas industry booming in southeastern New Mexico, the area has been plagued by a housing shortage.

Hotels and motels have been seeing more long-term rentals for workers, Neeb said.

A scarcity of housing can be an obstacle to greater economic development in the area. Companies looking to relocate to a community might find doing so more challenging if there is no housing available for their workers, Morris said.

People who want to attend the summit are urged to call City Hall’s front office ahead of time so organizers can know in advance how many people are going to attend, Morris said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.