Affordable Housing would benefit the district tremendously. Besides increasing our tax base and allowing people (especially students and senior citizens) to stay on the island, it would end the “trade parade” that frustrates residents of the Hamptons. Housing issues are extremely critical for minority communities, whose yearly incomes are still not close to that of their white counterparts. The implementation of affordable housing initiatives counters the effects of redlining, when black communities were systematically denied mortgage loans, preventing them from obtaining homes and prospering. To ensure housing is accessible and affordable, we must take certain steps:
1. Elimination of Student Loan Debt
While this is not usually considered a housing issue, it is one of the biggest factors of home ownership. According to the National Association of Realtors, “More than 80 percent of millennials who don’t own homes said they couldn’t afford one because of student loans.” Eliminating this student debt on a state level would enable and encourage young people to buy homes. This would not merely favor the younger generations. If millenials can buy homes, older generations, looking to sell their homes, will actually have someone to whom they can sell. Currently, older generations find themselves unable to downsize, as their children are often forced to live with them in their houses well into their 30s. Should they try to sell the house, it remains on the market, as new families cannot afford to purchase. Eliminating student loan debt would benefit the economy and the housing market overall.
2. Lottery of Vacant and Zombie Homes at Discretion of Municipalities in Partnership with NYS
New York State will work with local municipalities in the seizure of vacant and zombie homes. My program will ensure that these houses are up to code before putting them in a lottery for affordable housing. This would generate money for the state in the long run, as it would increase the tax base, housing people who are otherwise paying $0 in property taxes. This lottery would have multiple facets:
3. Advocacy to HUD
NYS must insist that the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) change the standards of what is considered “affordable” housing. HUD needs to reexamine the plans, as the Annual Median Income (AMI) does not adequately allow for people to qualify for affordable homes. The HUD AMI cap must be raised to allow more families to qualify for affordable housing programs. In addition, New York must be granted partnership with HUD so HUD may dually subsidize housing costs, thus giving lower income families the ability to move into affordable housing developments.
4. Sewer Grants
NYS will work with municipalities to install and upgrade sewer systems. Providing sewer grants will protect the environment and enable increased development of affordable housing.