HOUSING HEARING #1
STRENGTHENING NEW YORK'S HOUSING PRESERVATION PROGRAMS
Friday, April 27th, 2007 / 12 NOON to 4PM
Witness List (PDF)
Few problems facing our state are more critical than New York’s severe shortage of safe, decent, and affordable homes. In recent decades, homeowners and renters in cities, towns, suburbs, and rural areas across New York have seen the state’s affordable housing problems become a full-blown crisis. The median purchase price of a single-family home in New York increased by 131% during the last decade. According to the 2000 census, 40.5% of renters and 31.2% of homeowners statewide are burdened by overly high housing costs. There are more homeless families today in New York City than anytime since the Great Depression. All across the state, seniors on fixed incomes are being squeezed out of their homes, and young adults are unable to afford to remain in the communities in which they grew up.
In addition to the tremendous human costs of this crisis, New York’s affordable housing crisis is jeopardizing the economic health and future of our state. The availability of safe, decent and affordable housing is a key factor in the ability of local economies to attract and retain businesses. Business leaders frequently cite the lack of affordable housing in many areas of New York as a serious impediment to the state’s ability to grow and compete economically.
Throughout New York, local leaders have recognized the magnitude of the housing crisis in recent years and have begun to make substantial financial commitment to the development and preservation of affordable housing. In his budget address this year, Governor Spitzer declared that the State must become an equal partner with localities on housing issues once again, and announced the creation of a new $50 million fund for housing production and conservation at the Housing Finance Agency.
It is now incumbent upon the state government to develop a comprehensive state-wide plan to address the affordable housing crisis facing our state. We must ensure that we maximize the efficiency and benefits of current programs and develop new housing programs and financing mechanisms.
Because the preservation of existing affordable housing is exponentially less expensive than the production of new affordable homes, preservation mechanisms must be a key part of any comprehensive strategy. This public forum will explore strategies for improving the ability of New York State agencies and authorities to address this critical need for affordable housing preservation.
Testimony (all in PDF format):