JP Morgan Chase Settlement Funds could assist Rural New Yorkers

Session continues and negotiations also continue to determine just how the trust fund, meant to avoid preventable foreclosures and ameliorate the effects of the foreclosure crisis, should be spent.  NYS Rural Advocates believe the existing financial literacy programs, Statewide partnerships with legal services and housing counselors, and continuing homebuyer education classes should be supported. State affordable housing programs that assist first time home buyers and rehabilitation programs that decrease the cost of operating and maintaining a home should be expanded.  These funds could best be used to stabilize the capacity of non profits preservation companies that provide housing counseling and training with longer term, reliable contracts for foreclosure mitigation and housing services.  New York has many effective housing programs that are in demand.  This is an opportunity to build on this foundation and serve those in need of affordable housing.

 

 

NYS Budget Deal Reached

Bills are now printed for an “on time”, April 1 budget.  The legislature did add back funding for rural rental assistance and rural and neighborhood housing preservation programs, with a line “on budget” for these programs.  This  means for FY 2014-15, RPCs and NPC should be funded at last year’s levels, with each Coalition funded at last year’s level,  $150,000. Senator Young reaffirmed her commitment to affordable housing programs in budget conference.  The big unknown is how the JP Morgan Chase  settlement   for affordable housing programs is used. The Aid to Localities language is rather vague but places the program at the Office of Community Renewal.  Another positive note is that RESTORE budget language increases the per unit allowance to $10,000 in response to input from Rural Advocates.  Many thanks to those of you who spoke up about your community needs!

Aid to Localities bill here

Capital Projects bill here includes Housing Trust Fund at $44,200,000 and AHC Affordable Housing Program at $25,000,000. HOPE/RESTORE at $1,400,000, Main Street at $4,200,000, Access to Home at $1,000,000 and Home for Working Families at $9,000,000, Rural/Urban Community Innovation Fund at $6,750,000

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Legislators add money to the NYS Budget

Another $500,000,000 was added to the NYS 2014-15 Budget as proposed by Governor Cuomo.  From this total, $24,000,000 was added to the “table” that includes environment, agriculture and housing. You can expect leadership and legislative staffers to be working through the weekend towards an April 1 NYS budget.

State Comptroller releases housing report

The New York State Comptroller released a report today with a county by county look at the affordability of housing.  Loaded with maps and tables, he concludes ,” In 2012, more than 50 percent of New York State’s rental households and more than 30 percent of State homeowners faced housing costs above the affordability threshold of 30 percent of household income. For both renters and owners, both the number and the percentage of households with housing costs above the affordability threshold have increased since 2000. …Both the 2012 Census figures and this analysis of change since 2000 show that a larger number of New Yorkers are struggling to pay rising housing costs at a time when real incomes have been stagnant or declining. As increasing numbers of New York households experience difficulties in paying for their housing, they may be forced to reduce their spending on other goods and services, inhibiting economic growth and undermining the potential for an improved quality of life.”

Advocates go to Albany

March is a busy month with Advocates rocking the halls of the Capitol.  NYS Rural Advocates visited their legislators this week to let them know that affordable housing is a serious problem with solutions.  Legislators are  crafting their one house budgets for passage next week. Negotiations can then begin after March 12, for a final April 1 budget.