Dear Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie:
Our coalition of New York’s leading housing organizations applaud your recent approval of nearly $2 billion for affordable housing in the 2016-2017 state budget. Your commitment was a powerful step in advancing the State’s unprecedented $20 billion plan to build and preserve affordable housing and combat homelessness.
We are also writing to urge you to expedite the disbursement of this new budget funding, including the housing funding subject to a memorandum of understanding to be agreed upon by you, in order to address the affordable housing crisis that affects millions of New Yorkers.
New York’s housing crisis is becoming more urgent with each passing day. More than half of renters across the state are rent-burdened and pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. More than 80,000 New Yorkers are homeless on any given night and many are in desperate need of supportive housing to achieve housing stability. The statewide senior population is expected to increase by 40 percent by 2040 and hundreds of thousands of seniors are already severely rent-burdened. The foreclosure crisis has resulted in tens of thousands of foreclosures in New York State and still more homeowners are struggling to make monthly mortgage payments.
Our coalition stands ready to partner with you to ensure these funds are used expeditiously and cost-effectively to address this crisis, especially for low- and middle-income housing, supportive housing and senior housing programs across the state. We welcome the opportunity to work with you to develop a comprehensive action plan for the new budget funding as quickly as possible. The sooner we put together a plan, the sooner those resources can be put to work in communities that need them the most.
While we appreciate that there are many issues to be considered prior to the conclusion of the legislative session, we believe housing is a fundamental need critical to our economy and the welfare of all New Yorkers, especially vulnerable populations of children, seniors and low and middle income families. Due to your recent historic commitment of State funding, we know you agree, and we look forward to working with you to quickly put this funding to work to address New York’s housing crisis.
Thank you for your strong support for affordable housing. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.