ALBANY, N.Y. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker in conjunction with Senator Jamaal T. Bailey, Habitat for Humanity New York City (Habitat NYC) and partners 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. Legislators and members of Habitat NYC stood by Assemblywoman Walker on the Million Dollar Staircase to demand action on legislation to promote and protect affordable home-ownership.
The Affordable Housing Corporation (A6277/ S1824), was introduced by Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and State Senator Jamaal T. 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, an allocation to build a unit for homeownership has not significantly increased since AHCs establishment in 1985.
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.
"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."
Homeownership is one of the trademarks of a successful life, said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez. Too often do we find families stuck, having rented their homes, no longer being able to afford rising rent costs. As a state, it is imperative that we aim to increase opportunities for homeownership. Not only will this be an important foundation for families to be built, but it will also establish stable communities and revitalize neighborhoods.
New Yorkers in all corners of the state are all-too familiar with the struggle to obtain stable and affordable housing, and this legislation will provide families with the peace of mind knowing that we will continue our investment in this critical resource, said Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre.
We are so very grateful to Assemblywoman Walker and Senator Bailey for their leadership on affordable housing and for introducing legislation that will significantly expand the resources needed to build affordable homes for ownership, said Karen Haycox, CEO of Habitat NYC. Throughout New York State, low-income families are significantly burdened by rising rents; to them, the idea of homeownership is an unattainable dream. By making homeownership more accessible to these hard-working New Yorkers, we can not only stabilize families and neighborhoods, but we can free up thousands of additional rental units for families with limited budgets.
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.