A new effort designed to identify and solve housing issues in northeast New Mexico was scheduled to be launched Monday this week with the initial meeting of a task force that is to include numerous entities, companies, and individuals involved in the housing industry.

The task force is to be headed by Terry Brunner, New Mexico state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency, which created the task force to address the “housing desert” in the northeast part of the state.

Currently, six counties — Colfax, Harding, Mora, Quay, San Miguel, and Union — are not seeing many homes being bought or built, according to Rural Development. The initiative seeks to address the following communities: Raton, Cimarron, Springer, Maxwell, Des Moines, Wagon Mound, Roy, Mosquero, Mora, Clayton, Las Vegas, Tucumcari, and Logan.

Organizations and entities such as contractors and mortgage lenders, realtors, elected officials, and nonprofit organizations that provide credit counseling have been invited to participate in the task force. The task force was scheduled to meet for the first time Monday morning in Mosquero. At the meeting, an initial plan was to be developed to work on ways to provide greater housing opportunities to the public. Ultimately, organizers say, the meeting is to produce other meetings and a database of contact information through which people can contact each other when seeking to provide housing in individual communities.

According to an announcement of the “housing desert” effort from Rural Development, problems that are causing the housing issues include low population, credit issues, access to financing, and difficulty getting contractors to build in remote rural areas. The task force’s work is also to include providing homebuyer education.