Breaking Barriers for Housing Equality
In the face of a housing crisis in Bernalillo County, attorneys Bryce Dorato and Riley Masse from New Mexico Legal Aid stand out as champions for justice. Their unwavering commitment shines through in stories like Jeffrey Herrera’s, who, after a five-year wait, faced denial of a reasonable accommodation request, leading to eviction and homelessness.
Meet Heaven Monique Cortez, a resilient mom navigating hurdles to secure adequate housing for her family. Denied disability accommodations, her struggle echoes the challenges faced by a third of accommodation requests, as revealed by public records obtained by the Journal.
Heaven’s attorney, Bryce Dorato, sheds light on the intensified difficulties faced by people with disabilities in securing affordable housing. “We’re in a housing crisis, and finding a place is hard for people without disabilities, let alone those with disabilities,” Dorato emphasizes.
Riley Masse, housing stability managing attorney at New Mexico Legal Aid, points out the complex journey in filling accommodation requests, terming it a “moving target.” Advocating for accommodation solutions, Masse stresses the need for a more collaborative approach.
Despite challenges, stories like Jeffrey Herrera’s highlight the importance of legal aid. Herrera’s voucher was reinstated after a hearing officer acknowledged the incorrect denial of reasonable accommodation.
As we navigate through these stories, it’s crucial to raise awareness about accessibility rights and advocate for change. Together, let’s work towards a future where everyone can access suitable housing without facing undue obstacles.