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The KUNM news team's coverage of the 2020 legislative session and its impacts

YNMG & COVID: The Roof And The Lights

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William Warby via Flickr CC
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In episode 36, we're talking about the struggle to pay rents or mortgages and to keep the lights on during the pandemic. Because when money's tight, people are forced to make choices. And some of those choices—about food and medicine—could interfere with their health and immune systems as we all try to avoid this virus.

Mayor Tim Keller tells us about relief money from the city to help pay your rent, though that fund is going quick. PNM shares details about the pay-what-you-can plan, the company's promise to not turn off your lights during the pandemic and a fund for helping out with bills. Renter AJ Woods says if we want to see a real commitment to social distancing and isolation, the government must suspend and forgive rent and mortgage payments so people don't have to try to go out and make ends meet. Landlord Stew Dorris talks us through trying to work things out with the mortgage companies for his properties because his tenants can't pay their rents. And Las Vegas, N.M. small business owner Pauline Perea of The Styling Parlor—in operation for decades—tells us about trying to figure out rent for her business that's not in operation right now.

And a news update: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an executive order for the Department of Corrections to create a list of inmates that could be released early. That have to be people whose release date is only a month out, who have a parole plan, who have not been convicted of sex offenses, DWI, domestic abuse or assault on an officer.

We're keeping a complete list of the resources and volunteer opportunities that we find for each episode at bit.ly/YNMGhub. And here's what we got from today.

Resources:

How are things going for you? We want to know. Share your quarantine stories by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.

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Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, and the New Mexico Local News Fund. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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