Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assistant Speaker Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) and Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Chair of the Assembly Housing committee, announced that a budget agreement has been reached to increase funding for housing programs that will benefit the working families and communities of New York.
Funding is not only restored for essential preservation programs, but is increased by $2.2 million. A total of $14,276,000 will be dedicated to the construction and rehabilitation of quality, affordable housing. More than $10 million is added for the Neighborhood Preservation Program and $4.2 million for the Rural Preservation Program. Last year, the programs were funded at $8.48 million and $3.54 million, respectively.
The Foreclosure Prevention Program will be funded over a three-year period with a first year investment of $25 million. As part of this funding, existing program contracts will be extended for at least six months. The Foreclosure Prevention Program, which provides legal assistance, counseling and other support services to homeowners, is funded from a $136 million mortgage servicing settlement reached by the Attorney General.
“Many working families are faced with the impossible choice of buying food or making their rent or mortgage payments. Now, more than ever, we must invest in programs that can keep quality housing affordable and protect struggling homeowners from unnecessary foreclosure procedures. I applaud the members of the Conference Committee who worked so diligently to include and expand this essential funding,” said Silver.
“In 2011, housing preservation programs leveraged approximately $48 for every dollar the state invested,” said Lopez. “During a time when so many New Yorkers are facing homelessness, we could not possibly consider an elimination of this funding. We were determined to not only restore funding for these programs at last year’s levels, but to provide additional funds to build, preserve and rehabilitate affordable homes.”
An additional $1.5 million has been dedicated to the Supportive Housing Program and $1.5 million to the Solutions to End Homelessness Program.
The New York City Housing Authority’s Resident Watch Program will receive $742,000. This program helps ensure that state-constructed housing developments remain safe and free from crime by providing monthly stipends to tenants and other volunteers who serve as the “eyes and ears” of the police by patrolling housing developments and community and senior centers. This funding was eliminated in this year’s Executive proposal.