BY JAMES FARRELL
A coalition of 10 housing advocacy organizations is demanding that Albany move forward to allot $2 billion in funding for affordable housing last Tuesday. The funding, while promised in the state budget back in April, is currently locked up because Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) have yet to sign an agreement, called a memorandum of understanding, which would release the funds, advocates say.
The coalition has drafted its own memorandum of understanding, pressuring state leaders to sign on in order to begin providing the necessary funding for affordable housing projects statewide. Advocates estimate that with every month that the MOU is not signed, 1,000 units of affordable, senior and supportive housing are missed out on, as developers uncertain of future funding shy away from housing projects.
“Everyone says that they want to build affordable housing. I’m not sure what the problem is,” said Jolie Milstein, president and CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, one of the members of the coalition. “I would love somebody to tell me what the problem is so we can address it head on.” She added that the unprecedented level of funding is what spurred the urgency to act.
The coalition’s memorandum calls for allocations to a number of different housing needs, including NYCHA roof replacements, senior housing and supportive housing.
Heastie and Flanagan did not reply to a request for comment by press time.
“It was the governor who advanced this unprecedented state commitment to affordable housing,” said a spokesman for Cuomo. “Like these advocates, we are seeking to get this MOU signed and this much-needed funding out the door as soon as possible. We urge the legislature to join us in this effort.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400×127, email@example.com or @farrellj329