NY housing organization seeks solutions to rural housing issues
Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Rural New York organizations are working to tackle issues with rural housing. Rural counties throughout the state are suffering from aging housing stock and an ever dwindling supply.
In 2021, the New York State Comptroller found 10 rural counties had 5,500 fewer housing units than in 2016.
Megan Murphy, executive director of the rural housing organization Adirondack Roots, said places like Essex County are seeing the ripple effects of rural New York's housing problems.
"The county itself has dozens of jobs that are going unfilled because one of the hardest parts of this is that hiring in people from outside, they're not able to find housing," Murphy observed. "We're hearing this from health care institutions, we're hearing this from nonprofits, and from others."
She argued solutions require new rental units and affordable housing projects in rural areas. Murphy added while most rural counties are facing a housing shortage, the problems look different in each place. Essex County, for example, needs increased funding for Adirondack Roots' existing home rehabilitation, and New York State's mobile home replacement program.
New York State is investing in rural areas. Several new rental developments have been built across the state in 2023. But Murphy pointed out new projects are expensive and potential renters are already struggling to make ends meet with low wages.
"When you're talking about new builds, it's 'how do we figure out how to create a situation where we can either reduce the cost of building, or create a situation where there is a subsidy for folks so that they can get into new homes?'" Murphy explained.
She emphasized it also applies to maintaining existing homes. Murphy acknowledged there is no silver bullet to the issues surrounding rural housing, but contended it will take an interconnected, holistic approach to solve them.
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