Thiele Announces Passage Of Long Island Workforce Housing Program To Provide Affordable Housing

Thiele’s Legislation Passes Both Houses
June 5, 2008
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (R, I, C – Sag Harbor) is proud to announce the passage of legislation to create the Long Island Workforce Housing Program to make homeownership more affordable for Suffolk and Nassau counties’ workforce. The legislation, Assembly Bill 9881-A/Senate Bill 6823-A, was passed by both houses last evening.

“Owning an affordable home on Long Island has, unfortunately, become out of reach for many residents, especially our younger residents. No matter how hard Long Islanders work, the cost of living, coupled with high property taxes and increasing housing costs, is making homeownership a more difficult goal to achieve. This is precisely why passage of the Long Island Workforce Housing Program is so important. This program helps make homeownership a reality for the hard-working men and women across Long Island and I am very proud that this initiative has been supported and passed by both houses,” said the Assemblyman.

Specifically, A.9881-A/S.6823-A would make homeownership more affordable by providing developers who are applying to build five or more residential units with density bonuses of at least 10 percent, or other incentives, in exchange for one of the following:

  • Setting aside at least 10 percent of units for “affordable workforce housing,” defined as housing for individuals or families at or below 130 percent of Long Island’s median income; or
  • Construction of the required affordable units on other land within the same municipality; or
  • Payment of a fee for each affordable unit to the local government, equal to two times the median income for a family of four on Long Island. In cases where the fee exceeds the appraised value of the building lot, the fee shall equal the appraised value of the lot.

Should the developer choose the fee payment route, the fees may be collected by the local government through the establishment of a trust fund to be used for the purchase of land, construction or rehabilitation of existing structures for the purpose of providing affordable housing. The local government may also turn over the funds to another local government within the same county or the Long Island Housing Partnership for the same purpose of providing affordable housing.

Since 1990, Nassau and Suffolk counties have experienced a 35 percent decrease in the number of 25-34 year-old residents. By 2000, Long Island’s home affordability had only worsened and from 2003 to 2006, the median home value had more than doubled. The number of affordable homes with a value of less than $250,000 had dropped to less than 5 percent by 2007, yet wages had not increased.

This legislation would help stall this and keep younger residents in state by providing affordable housing on Long Island. The legislation has been returned to the Senate where it awaits delivery to the Governor for his consideration to be signed into law. Long Island residents who would like to ensure this bill is signed into law are encouraged to write to the Governor expressing their support for the program. You can write to: Governor David Paterson at the State Capitol, Albany NY 12224.