Albany, N.Y. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker in conjunction with the Coalition for Affordable Homes held a press conference at the State Capitol today to call on lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase funding for affordable housing construction for the first time since 1985. Affordable housing advocates and homeowners, from the neighborhood of Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, stood by Assemblywoman Walker on the Million Dollar Staircase to demand action on legislation to promote and protect affordable home-ownership.
The Coalition also called for support of funding reform for the Affordable Housing Corporation (A6494/S7063), which was introduced by Assembly Member Latrice Walker and State Senator Jamaal Bailey.
The legislation being proposed would increase support for permanently affordable home-ownership and rehabilitation projects. Funding levels for rental housing has vastly outpaced home-ownership programs, leading to very limited resources for home builders across the state. Despite dramatic increases in the cost of construction over the past 30 years, allocations to build a homeownership unit have not significantly increased since AHCs establishment in 1985.
"Home-ownership is often a critical step in achieving the American Dream. It is something that many individuals strive to achieve in their lifetime, but often times fall short due to a lack of funds, said Sen. Bailey. I am proud to work with Habitat for Humanity and Assemblywoman Latrice Walker in introducing legislation that would provide more sufficient funding for building affordable homes across the state. I am hopeful that this bill will be a step in the right direction of increasing the number of homeowners in New York State and helping New Yorkers achieve their American Dream."
Since the 1980s, there has not been a significant increase in Affordable Housing Corporation grants, even though the cost of building homes has increased tremendously since then, said Assemblywoman Walker. This bill will be able to increase the grants to build Affordable Homes, which in turn will grant low-income families the opportunity to become homeowners.
The legislation will increase the per unit allocation for home-ownership projects from $40,000 to $75,000. It will also require that projects accessing increased funds require permanent affordability restrictions, ensuring long-term public benefit for increased investment.
Habitat for Humanity affiliates across our state stand with our Senators and Assemblymembers in reforming the Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC), said Mary Robinson, CEO of Habitat for Humanity New York State. From Newburgh and the Hudson Valley to New York City and Niagara County, families struggle to find stable, safe, affordable housing. As construction costs continue to rise, we thank Assemblywoman Walker and Senator Bailey for introducing legislation to combat this problem and preserve investments in affordable housing for generations to come.