By Connor Beach
The Huntington Township Housing Coalition is calling for more affordable housing in town.
The coalition released last week an update to their 2016 Housing Report, which had also documented a need for more rental units, and more affordable housing. “The town will fail to meet the housing needs of its most vulnerable citizens,” the 2016 report stated.
The coalition’s 2016 report indicated that the town needs 2,798 units of affordable housing by 2020, citing a 2005 Rutgers University study. The 2018 update to the report states that only 729 units are completed or planned.
Huntington Township Housing Coalition president Roger Weaving Jr., of Huntington, presented the group’s 2018 report to the town board during Tuesday night’s meeting.
In his presentation to the town board, Weaving said bringing high paying jobs to Huntington is not a means to solve the problem of a lack of affordable housing.
“Recognize the idea that bringing in high-paying jobs as a solution to the affordability issue is not a solution — it will only make things worse,” Weaving said.
In an interview Tuesday, Weaving said the town government should continue to close loopholes in the affordable housing law, and apply the 20-percent affordable housing requirement to a wider variety of developments.
He also suggested the town board loosen code restraints to make it easier for safe, legal two-family homes and accessory apartments to come online.
“We’ve heard from a lot of young professionals that they want to own a home, but they can’t afford to own a home,” Weaving said. “What they’re looking for is easier routes to accessory apartments or two-family homes where they can buy a home and rent out half a home or buy a home and rent out an apartment.”
Weaving said the huge demand for affordable housing is illustrated by the nearly 20-to-1 oversubscription that the town Community Development Agency receives when they announce that affordable housing units are available.
Most of the people who make up the demand for affordable housing have jobs, Weaving said, and are spending anywhere from 30-50 percent of their income on housing.
Councilwoman Joan Cergol, who served as the director of Huntington’s Community Development Agency prior to her appointment to the town board in December, acknowledged the continued need for affordable housing, but also said she was “very proud of Huntington’s record as a regional leader in this arena.”
“The demand for affordable housing continues to outpace the supply and we need to continue to look at that and I thank the Huntington Township Housing Coalition for its advocacy,” Cergol said.
She continued, “A report from the NYS Comptroller that measured the Town’s compliance with the LI Workforce Housing Act of 2008 found that between the study period of 2009 and 2014, the town not only met, but well exceed NYS law with 54 percent of units built during that period designated as affordable workforce housing.”
Weaving said he looks forward to working with the town board to address the continued need for the development of affordable housing.