Assembly’s Budget Commits $600 Million Toward New Yorkers’ Housing Needs

Combats sub-prime mortgage crisis as well
March 12, 2008
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced that the Assembly’s budget proposal commits nearly $600 million to shore up the state’s housing market, make housing more affordable, and keep people in their homes.

“Housing is a basic need – making it affordable is a requirement,” said Jacobs. “By supporting programs that enable New York residents to have reasonably priced and decent places to live, we help improve our citizens’ quality of life and well-being. In addition, ensuring New York State’s housing market remains stable and affordable is crucial to keeping our economy healthy.”

$400 Million To Meet Housing Needs

The Assembly amends the Executive’s Housing Opportunity Fund to provide an immediate $200 million in capital funding to improve the availability and affordability of housing statewide for those who need help the most. Of that, $100 million would be earmarked to develop and rehabilitate affordable housing initiatives upstate and the remainder would be allocated to downstate projects.

An additional $200 million in capital funding would support the following programs:

Housing Trust Fund – $65 million
Affordable Housing Corporation – $40 million
Homeless Housing Assistance Program – $30 million
Public Housing Modernization Program – $25 million
Homes for Working Families – $20 million
Urban Initiatives – $8 million
Rural Area Revitalization Program – $8 million
HOPE/Restore – $4 million

The Assembly’s budget provides immediate housing funding, and rejects the governor’s plan to make it dependent on the sale of property at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Committing $180 Million To Combat the Sub-Prime Housing Crisis

The Assembly’s budget also addresses the state’s sub-prime mortgage crisis for the countless New Yorkers who, because of aggressive and deceptive lending practices, can’t make ballooning mortgage payments.

“We propose a total of $180 million in funding – $150 million in direct aid to help borrowers stay in their homes by reworking mortgages, and $30 million for counseling and foreclosure services,” Jacobs said.

This initiative will be supported by tapping $100 million in SONYMA Mortgage Insurance Fund excess reserves.

According to Assistant Speaker Jacobs, it’s estimated that 50,000 New York households were in foreclosure or default in 2006 alone and many of these foreclosures are geographically concentrated, suggesting pockets of the state will be more affected than others. “By providing needed financial support, we can help stabilize the housing market and give families a chance to revamp unwieldy loans and realistically manage debt,” said Jacobs.

New York City Housing Authority and Loft Law

Jacobs said that maintaining safety at state-funded housing complexes is also a top priority. The Assembly’s budget restores the governor’s $1.2 million cut for the tenant security patrol pilot project at the New York City Housing Authority.

And the Assembly’s budget once again extends the Loft Law, which provides tenants who become residents at loft buildings with protections against arbitrary evictions and rent hikes, and expands it to cover currently unprotected lofts and protect long-term tenants from unfair evictions.

Neighborhood and Rural Preservation Programs

The Neighborhood Preservation Program and Rural Preservation Program provide operating support to citizen-led, not-for-profit housing and community-based organizations.

Last year’s budget increased NPP and RPP funding over their historic levels. This year, the governor cut $4.9 million from last year’s enacted budget for these programs. The Assembly’s budget restores that cut and funds the programs at 2007-2008 levels for a total of $13.9 million and $6.2 million, respectfully.

“Funding the Preservation Programs helps ensure that we can continue to develop new rental housing, rehabilitate substandard housing, and provide adaptive re-use of existing buildings,” noted Jacobs.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit

The governor’s budget proposes expanding the state’s low income housing tax credit program by $4 million, providing more incentives for developers to build affordable housing.

“I think that’s the right approach, and the Assembly’s budget includes that funding. The $4 million allocation will help increase New York’s affordable housing stock for our families,” concluded Jacobs.