powered by LeadingAge New York

LeadingAge NY Joins Partners in Call for a New Five-Year Affordable Housing Plan

LeadingAge NY last week joined a coalition of affordable housing experts, nonprofits, and other organizations to release a sweeping report of statewide housing need calling on Governor Hochul and the Legislature to enact a comprehensive new five-year spending plan for affordable housing purposes, including $200 million in capital funding for affordable independent senior housing and $25 million to establish an Affordable Independent Senior Housing Resident Assistance Program.

The previous five-year, $2.5 billion State spending plan for affordable housing included $125 million for the development and preservation of affordable independent senior housing. However, with that spending plan concluding, affordable housing experts and advocates have warned that their work to meet the state’s housing needs could be in jeopardy without a continued, predictable funding stream.

Older New Yorkers are the fastest-growing demographic in our state and will comprise 20 percent of the population by 2027. Nearly one in 10 of today’s older New Yorkers live in poverty, and nearly 80 percent of low- and extremely low-income senior renters live alone, so we can reasonably expect that a significant portion of our growing senior population will continue to rely not only on subsidized housing, but also on community supports within that housing to age safely and independently in place.

Remaining independent at home and avoiding emergency room visits where possible has become even more critical for New York’s seniors as the COVID-19 pandemic has left hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities struggling to accommodate overwhelming demand for their specialized services. Research has shown that a cost-effective Resident Assistance program that connects low-income seniors living in affordable housing with existing community services and programs can not only reduce the number and cost of emergency room visits for these residents, but also help them stay out of more intensive – and costly – levels of care.

In a disappointing move, the Governor on Dec. 10th vetoed a bill sponsored by Legislative Housing Committee Chairmen Steven Cymbrowitz and Brian Kavanagh and supported by LeadingAge NY that would have required the Executive to submit a five-year capital spending plan for affordable housing purposes, including housing targeted to low-income seniors, with its annual Budget Proposal every five years beginning in 2022 (A.3807-A/S.2193-A). Noting her support of the bill’s intent, the Governor committed in her veto message to continuing work with stakeholders to determine the best path forward.

LeadingAge NY will continue to monitor development of the Executive’s State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2022-23 Budget Proposal and to advocate for a five-year spending plan that can keep pace with the growing and evolving housing needs of New York’s older adults – including significant and reliable capital for affordable independent senior housing, as well as the operating funds necessary to establish a Resident Assistance program that can help seniors in affordable rental units maintain independence.

Contact: Annalyse Komoroske Denio, akomoroskedenio@leadingageny.org, 518-867-8835