From the Field: New York Rural Affordable Housing Advocates Descend on State Capitol, Call for Increased Investments

Advocates from the New York State Rural Housing Coalition, an NLIHC state partner, joined with the New York State Rural Advocates at the Capitol in Albany on February 27 to urge legisla­tors to fully fund rural preservation companies (RPCs) and rural affordable housing programs. There was an excellent turnout from all parts of the state to meet with legislators in their offices, hallways, and some­times in elevators. Advocates asked legislators to maintain funding for a variety of programs that improve rural communities and help seniors and people with disabilities live in stable housing.

Advocates met with legislators to ask for full funding (at $100,000 per contract) for RPCs, which are community based nonprofit corporations that provide local, frontline support to meet the housing needs in rural communities throughout the state. They also asked for an increase to $50 million for the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC), given that in 2017 AHC re­ceived funding requests in excess of $67 million.

Regarding rural rental hous­ing, the State has used federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funds to support the Small Rental Development Initiative (SRDI), which helps create and preserve single-family housing with one to four units and small rental developments of fewer than 25 apartments. As plans are underway for another round of funding for this initiative, advocates recommended appropriating $15 mil­lion in the state Housing Trust Fund program for the SRDI program.

Local program administrators see huge demand for emergency home repairs from senior homeowners, as well as the need for home accessibility improvements so that seniors and disabled individuals can continue living independent­ly. Advocates called for an additional $1 million for the Hope/RESTORE pro­gram for emergency repairs to the homes of seniors and an in­crease of $4 million for the Access to Home Program to make accessi­bility modifications.

The highly popular New York Main Street Program has achieved positive transformations of many village downtowns across the state, and advocates asked that the governor’s proposed $4.2 million funding level for the pro­gram be increased to $10 million. The advocates argue that such an investment would be responsive to the existing demand and would generate significant community revitalization and economic benefits.

The governor and leaders of the Assembly and Senate have just begun meetings to hammer out a budget agreement by March 31. The New York State Rural Housing Coalition encourages advocates to continue to meet with legislators in district offices to share information about housing and community development programs and their communities’ unmet needs.

For more information about the New York State Rural Housing Coalition, contact Executive Director Jeff Keller at  or 518-458-8696 x112.