Andrew Cuomo Pledges $1 Billion to Housing Development

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in the process of defining the details of a new $1 billion House New York Program.

Introduced during the annual State of the State Address, the plan will generate about 14,000 housing units over the next five years in various distressed areas including the coastline neighborhoods hit by Hurricane Sandy.

According to New York Housing Conference CEO, Judy Calogero, given that federal disaster aid is stalled in Washington the new funding needed for about 305,000 homes and apartments destroyed or damaged by Sandy “couldn't come soon enough.”

The New York Home Buyout Program is one of the housing initiatives designed to directly aid people impacted by Hurricane Sandy in their previous location or to assist homeowners to relocate to higher ground.

New York State’s affordable housing issues appear to be close to the governor’s heart. Cuomo attributed his awareness about this segment to many years of affordable housing industry experience.

Cuomo’s new program also includes funds to revitalize roughly 8,700 units that are part of the state's 44 aging Mitchell-Lama portfolios by correcting deferred maintenance and other physical deficiencies, Calogero said. To ensure the revitalization financing necessary becomes available the Mitchell-Lama asset portfolio will be transferred from Empire State Development to NYS Homes and Community Renewal.

Another part of the plan is the REDC Opportunity Agenda designed to help poor communities benefit from revitalization funds available by cooperating with regional councils to identify strategies.

The Community, Opportunity, Reinvestment initiative aims “to better align state support with local needs,” when allocating resources in improving high-need communities. For example, in Newburgh, 37% of the population lives below the poverty line and two-thirds of residents have no more than a high school diploma.

The Achieving Equality for Women Initiative on the other hand aims to prevent “source-of-income discrimination in housing and housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence.”