Governor Spitzer Proposes Historic Investment In Affordable Housing
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Governor Spitzer Proposes Historic Investment In Affordable Housing

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$400 Million Housing Opportunity Fund Draws Praise from Advocates, Business Community

January 13, 2008 – Governor Eliot Spitzer today visited the Rheingold Houses in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to highlight steps his administration is taking to increase affordable and supportive housing throughout New York. Housing advocates, developers, community and business leaders applauded the Governor’s historic $400 million Housing Opportunity Fund, which was announced during the State of the State address last week. The proposal is part of a $1.5 billion infrastructure and economic development plan to enhance economic growth and opportunity across the state, and part of Governor Spitzer’s plan to ensure New York is the best place to live, work, raise a family and run a business.

“Good homes are the key to making a community livable. For over 100 years, New York led the nation with a progressive, visionary housing policy that helped to ensure that people had housing they could afford,” said Governor Spitzer. “In recent years, that vision has dimmed. In too many parts of our State, our children cannot afford to come back to the neighborhoods that they grew up in, and their parents cannot afford to stay in the homes where they raised their families. I will propose the biggest housing initiative in a generation, a $400 million Housing Opportunity Fund. This fund will build homes for the men and women who teach our kids and police our streets. This fund will also build supportive housing that enables persons with disabilities and others with special needs to live independently.”

“The Assembly Majority has for years led the fight in Albany for greater investment in affordable housing, and we have driven the effort to preserve the existing stock of affordable housing,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “We have provided millions of dollars in additional capital funding for the affordable housing , for the Low Income Housing Trust Fund, to improve public housing in blighted urban neighborhoods and to help the elderly and persons with disabilities to rehabilitate their homes.”

Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee, said: “I would like to commend Governor Spitzer for proposing this Housing Opportunity Fund. This program is the first of its kind in New York State and will go a long way towards helping us get out of the affordable housing crisis we’re currently in. I look forward to helping make the fund a reality.”

Senator Liz Krueger said: “Few problems facing our state are more critical than New York’s severe shortage of safe, decent, and affordable homes. In recent decades, homeowners and renters in cities, towns, suburbs, and rural areas across New York have seen the state’s affordable housing problems become a full-blown crisis. There are more homeless families today in New York City than anytime since the Great Depression. Ensuring safe and affordable housing is not only a key responsibility of state government—it is also good economic and fiscal policy. I could not be more delighted that the Governor shares this commitment and placed it front and center on his agenda.”

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said: “The Governor understands that many working families and individuals are struggling with health or physical disabilities are extremely vulnerable to losing their homes. Others can not find ones they can afford. His State of the State message on housing is welcomed and hopeful news. I have always said that my constituents keep New York going and growing, but they need safe, affordable housing and that need has become a desperate one. I look forward to working with the Governor on his housing proposals.”

Deborah VanAmerongen, Commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) said: “Governor Spitzer’s commitment to affordable housing is unprecedented in New York State. We are extremely fortunate to finally have a governor who understands the connection between ample affordable housing and the health of our economy—and who is willing to take bold steps to address New York’s housing needs.”

Priscilla Almodovar, President and Chief Executive Officer of the State Housing Finance Agency (HFA) said: “This fund will enable us to build on our success during the past year and work collaboratively with our partners in the private and nonprofit sector and in the Legislature to create much needed affordable housing. I am particularly proud that the Governor is creating a vehicle to promote and create supportive housing across New York State.”

Joseph A. Agostine, Jr., Executive Director of the Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of NYS, Inc., said: “Governor Spitzer’s commitment to expand affordable housing opportunities in New York State is terrific and exciting news. His proposed Housing Opportunity Fund will go a long way to make those housing opportunities a reality. We applaud the Governor for his efforts and look forward to working with him as we continue to address this state’s housing crisis.”

Bernie Carr, Executive Director of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) said: “The Governor knows that economic vitality is impossible without sufficient affordable housing opportunities. This historic investment in affordable housing is good for Upstate cities in need of revitalization and good for Downstate communities that have been adversely affected by skyrocketing housing costs.”

Martin Dunn, President of Dunn Development Corporation, said: “For the affordable and supportive housing development community, this is extremely welcomed news. These funds will enable New Yorkers with special needs, currently living in restrictive or substandard conditions, to live more independently and ensure a better quality of life for them. We applaud Governor Spitzer’s leadership and vision on this groundbreaking initiative.”

Richard Higgins, President of Norstar USA, an affordable housing developer said: “This extraordinary investment will help to create hundreds of jobs and revitalize entire communities. The impact of this announcement will reach far and wide.”

Ted Houghton Executive Director of the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY) said: “Everyone who cares about making housing affordable should be excited by this historic announcement. We finally have a Governor who understands just how serious the housing crisis has become in all regions of the state. Building affordable housing is one of the most effective economic development strategies available to government. And the inclusion of substantial resources for supportive housing – permanent housing linked to social services for homeless people with special needs – demonstrates that the Spitzer administration recognizes that the countless millions spent each year on emergency shelter and services for homeless individuals and families are better spent on permanent housing and recovery-oriented services.”

Michael D. Lappin, President of the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC) said: “Governor Spitzer’s announcement will bring hope to families whose lives are being made more and more difficult by spiraling housing costs. And moreover, the economic stimulus produced from this activity will serve to help many communities emerge from hard fiscal times.”

David Muchnick, Coordinator for Housing First!, a statewide housing advocacy organization, said: “This historic investment is a quantum leap forward in modernizing the state’s affordable and supportive housing policies. Investment on this scale demonstrates the administration’s recognition of affordable housing as a core component of the State’s mainstream economic development, smart growth and infrastructure programs.”

Shelly Nortz, Deputy Executive Director for policy at the Coalition for the Homeless, said: “The Spitzer Administration clearly understands the scale and dynamics of the affordable housing crisis in New York State. The Housing Opportunity Fund will embody smart investments of limited public resources to provide integrated housing opportunities for individuals and families – including those with various disabilities – and strengthen communities across New York State. This is what government is for.”

Blair Sebastian, Executive Director of the NYS Rural Housing Coalition, said: “Governor Spitzer has already made great strides in bringing new life to Upstate New York’s cities and rural communities. This extraordinary proposal is a clear signal that the Governor will continue to focus his attention on providing affordable housing, creating jobs and revitalizing Upstate New York.”

Abby Jo Sigal, Vice President and Director of Enterprise New York, a leading nonprofit provider of affordable housing for low-income people, said: “Governor Spitzer recognizes the crucial link between affordable housing and economic empowerment and revitalization, and we applaud him for taking such a significant step to address this issue through the $400 million Housing Opportunity Fund. Enterprise is proud to be a key partner in working with the State to ensure that every New Yorker has a place to call home.”

Carl Young, President of the New York Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, representing New York’s not-for-profit and public providers, said: “New York’s low-income seniors and seniors with disabilities face many challenges when it comes to affordable and supportive housing. We are pleased that Gov. Spitzer is making the needs of this important population a priority.”

You may access the fact sheet and the text of the Governor’s State of the State address at http://www.ny.gov/governor/sos/

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