Magnarelli: Grants, Housing Opportunity Fund, the Stimulus Upstate Needs

Appropriate, affordable housing is not a luxury – it’s a basic human need. It’s also essential to the renewal and economic recovery of any community. That’s why it’s critical that New York’s lawmakers do all that they can to ensure such housing is a reality and not just an elusive dream.

This week, New York made significant advances in helping provide quality, affordable housing for those who need it most – hardworking New York families facing tough housing decisions. This new funding will infuse upstate New York with unprecedented opportunities to spark economic recovery and rebuild blighted communities, two things Central New York sorely needs.

Affordable Housing Corporation grant

The New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) approved a $700,000 grant to the Empire Housing and Development Corporation for the purpose of purchasing and rehabilitating 35 housing units throughout Onondaga County. The project will be overseen by the Syracuse Purchase-Rehab Program.

These units, 25 single-family and five two-family homes, will expand affordable housing opportunities to more Onondaga families in need. With an eye toward conservation as well as preservation, the rehabilitation projects will include the replacement of outmoded and inefficient furnaces, windows, insulation, and electrical and plumbing systems.

Housing Opportunity Fund

Governor Spitzer’s proposed new Housing Opportunity Fund is a decisive move in the right direction in addressing the critical need for decent, affordable housing across New York State. The plan is also designed to improve access to supportive housing for New Yorkers with physical disabilities or mental illness.

The Housing Opportunity Fund, to be administered by the State of New York Mortgage Authority (SONYMA), has designated $100 million for affordable housing projects upstate. With the Housing Opportunity Fund in place, thousands more hardworking New York families will have solid roofs over their heads and will have safe and secure homes in which they can thrive, live with dignity and improve the quality of their lives.

Thomas Jefferson was fond of saying that a government’s sole purpose should be securing the freedom and the happiness of the people it serves. Our country was built on ideas like this, and they hold true today, just as they did when this country was founded. People – New Yorkers – cannot be happy, they cannot be healthy, and they cannot be successful if they do not have a decent place to call home. Jefferson believed, as do I, that the energies of government should be reserved for improving the condition of the people it serves. It is my job as a representative in the New York State Assembly to make sure that your government works for you. I applaud the AHC grant and support the new Housing Opportunity Fund, and I will continue to fight every day to make sure New York State continues to provide ample opportunities for safe, clean affordable housing for its residents.