Gov. Katie Hochul will have a little over a year to prove to New Yorkers that she is best at taking the state out of the pandemic and beyond. She will do so in difficult circumstances, helping New York City recover from several simultaneous crises.
Affordable housing is a link in several of these challenges, including an acute shortage of affordable apartments for low- and middle-income households, a worsening climate change crisis, and a disruptive digital divide. It makes sense for the Governor to recognize this unique opportunity to promote an innovative, well-capitalized long-term housing plan.
The good news is that the New York State Affordable Housing Association (NYSAFAH) has been working on these issues for years and is willing to work with Governor Hochul to build a better New York. By leveraging the expertise and experience of affordable housing professionals, the Hochula administration can significantly improve the lives of residents across the state.
This will start by continuing to address the shortage of affordable housing. In New York, for example, data show that new home production has lagged far behind population growth. And most of this housing is out of reach for many households: according to National Low Income Housing Coalition, workers with the minimum wage earn an average of $ 650 per month, while the average market rent for one bedroom is over $ 1,800 per month. It is time to substantially change the status quo.
A successful housing policy is based on long-term planning and stability. Real estate requires constant resources – all parties involved in the creation of new homes should be aware that financing will be available not only today, but also in a few years. That’s why the latest five-year housing plan has been so successful: It created a sustainable roadmap for the industry to follow.
Governor Hochula is now in a position to build on past successes and develop a new, innovative long-term plan that can go beyond the priorities of producing and maintaining affordable housing, but is also committed to sustainable building principles. Bridging this gap is fundamental to tackling climate change. In accordance with City Green CouncilThe construction and maintenance of buildings accounts for 40 percent of all energy consumption in the United States. While innovative construction and design models that reduce greenhouse gas emissions do exist, these building upgrades are more expensive than conventional construction.
But partnerships that are creating affordable housing in New York are well positioned to leverage additional public and private resources dedicated to tackling climate change to meet those costs. With the influx of federal dollars expected to flow into New York over the next few months, Governor Hochul has the opportunity to make a significant contribution to the ongoing fight against climate change.
Providing multi-year capital resources over the long term will help our state produce more affordable housing for families in need, but we also have the opportunity to make sure the residents of these new homes are set to succeed in today’s world. The federal government provides this opportunity through capital funding in the infrastructure spending accounts to ensure equal access to broadband.
2019 year American Community Survey found that 36 percent of New Yorkers earning $ 25,000 or less do not have a broadband subscription at home, compared with 5 percent of those earning $ 75,000 or more. In other words, too many affordable housing residents do not have access to reliable and affordable home broadband services right now. NYSAFAH is currently developing a comprehensive roadmap to close this gap. We look forward to working with the Governor to ensure that high-quality broadband is provided to all New Yorkers, regardless of income.
We’re excited to work with Governor Hohul to tackle housing affordability, tackle climate change and connect our low-income residents to broadband in their homes, and we believe she knows firsthand how affordable housing can positively transform New York.
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