Adapted from a summary prepared by New York State Rural Advocates
New York Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State on January 5. The Governor resumed giving the address to the Legislature in the historic Assembly Chamber, though most members and staff viewed the 35-minute speech from remote locations due to the pandemic.
State of the State speeches usually include extensive lists of proposals, some of which are enacted, while many die a quiet – or not so quiet – death in committee. This address contained enough proposals to fill a 235-page briefing book with nearly twenty pages devoted to homelessness and affordable housing.
Affordable housing advocates must have been delighted when the Governor began her discussion of housing by proposing a comprehensive multi-year plan that would create or preserve 100,000 units of affordable housing with a headline-grabbing $25 billion price tag. We expect to see details of the proposed five-year plan later this month when Governor Hochul delivers her budget address and simultaneously releases the detailed Executive Budget.
Knowing that affordability is not the only problem New Yorkers grapple with, the Governor also proposed an ambitious program to create and preserve 10,000 supportive housing units, as well as $300 million for new construction and preservation of senior housing across the state.
Her vision for “a new era for New York” includes permitting accessory dwelling units in single family neighborhoods and piloting a program to create community-controlled housing that prioritizes resident governance and permanent affordability. She also proposes an effort to weatherize and convert homes to electric heating, and to initiate a program to spur innovation in the construction of affordable housing, which continues to lag far behind demand.
Governor Hochul also addressed rural housing issues, proposing programs to preserve and improve opportunities for rental housing and to invest in manufactured housing stock.
Last summer, the Leviticus Fund delivered a Housing Report to the City of Newburgh. While commissioned for that city, many of the findings apply across the state. Equity, Livability and Vitality should be viewed as interlocking housing needs and building blocks for any successful housing policy.
We applaud Governor Hochul for her integrated approach to housing in New York State. We look forward to working with her and the Legislature as they take bold steps to ensure that all New Yorkers can live in peace and dignity.