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State Comptroller Addresses Westchester's Affordable Housing Crisis

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli spoke to the gathering of Community Housing In. members and guests at Tappan Hill In Tarrytown, May 19. Video Credit: Danny LoPriore

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joined other experts in addressing the sky-high cost of housing and the flight of younger renters and home buyers in Westchester County at a breakfast hosted by the Community Housing Innovations, Inc. at Tappan Hill on Monday.

DiNapoli discussed his recently released report about the high percentage of income needed for housing costs -- rental and home mortgages and real estate taxes -- that have stressed family incomes since the last recession.

"Around the state, especially in the Lower Hudson Valley, families are being pinched by rising housing costs," DiNapoli told the audience at the corporate breakfast. "When nearly half your income goes to pay for a place to live, you are gong to be stretched thin when it comes to everyday spending. Housing affordability influences the economy -- buying power, businesses -- on every level."

DiNapoli said recent reports showed that as many as 40.5 percent of Westchester renters and 30.6 percent of home owners are paying more than the federal government's affordable percentage rate of 30 percent.

The Comptroller referenced a report from CHI that revealed that Westchester County has lost 13 percent of its 25-34 year old population who often leave the state because of the cost of living. Communities like Rye, Pound Ridge, Lewisboro and Scarsdale have lost up to 50 percent of that age group.

Community Housing Innovations Senior Director of Housing Development and Finance Debra Post spoke about grants for first-time home buyers and helps for middle income families. The organization has provided $12 million in $25,000 income-eligible first-time grants to more than 500 first-time buyers since 1997.

"We want to get the word out about the CHI down payment assistance program and we hope that (corporations and banks) will help inform buyers about our educational programs." We want to see more affordable housing built in Westchester, but we have opportunities for first-time buyers that can help make home purchase possible."

For more information about CHI's programs and counseling services, log on to the organization's website.

The event is was sponsored by Continental Home Loans; O’Connor Davies, LLP; People’s United Bank; Benchmark Title Agency, LLC; Cannon Heyman and Weiss, LLP; Community National Bank; M&T Bank; Mortgage Master; and Total Management Corp.