Magnarelli: Affordable Housing a Must for Working Families and Economy

March 14, 2008
Housing is one of our most basic needs. Without affordable housing for our families and our workforce, the economy suffers. That’s why the Assembly commits nearly $600 million in our budget proposal to shore up the state’s housing market, making housing more affordable and keeping people in their homes. By supporting programs that enable Central New York residents to have decent and affordable places to live, we will help improve their overall quality of life and help bolster our economy.

The Assembly amended the executive budget’s Housing Opportunity Fund to provide an immediate $200 million in capital funding. This aid will 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. 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 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.

The Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) and Rural Preservation Program (RPP) provide operating support to citizen-led, non-profit housing and community-based organizations. 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. The Assembly’s budget restores cuts made by the executive and funds the programs at $13.9 million for NPP and $6.2 million for RPP.

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

In the past, I have helped secure funding for programs, such as, Empire Housing and Development Corporation, Home HeadQuarters, Housing Visions, Jubilee Homes, Inc., Northeast Hawley Development Association, Onondaga County Housing Preservation, Spanish Action League, Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corporation and Syracuse United Neighbors. These local housing initiatives help new residents move into homes and help current homeowners stay in their homes. Safe and affordable housing is a must for Central New York residents and I will continue to support critical funding for local housing programs that help ensure the integrity and quality of life in our community.