Nonprofit Groups Create Research Tool to Address Housing Crisis on Long Island

NEW YORK – Regional Plan Association, Citi Community Development and the Long Island Community Foundation released new research to help address the acute shortage of affordable housing on Long Island. The research, which was developed in consultation with Long Island housing experts, includes data-driven profiles of more than 100 communities on Long Island, an assessment of housing expenditure potential by income level and a case study demonstrating the benefits of well-designed multifamily housing.

The research is intended to provide a factual base to help guide discussions and decisions on current and future housing needs. The housing profiles also are meant to help communities assess related challenges, including the exodus of young adults from Long Island, the difficulties of attracting workers and employers, segregated neighborhoods and the needs of the area’s growing elderly population.

Long Islanders face rising costs of living, especially for housing. Forty-nine percent of Long Islanders with a mortgage are spending 30% or more of their income on housing, the profiles show, exceeding the threshold considered burdensome by the federal government. The housing costs of 56% of Long Island renters also surpass the threshold.

Historically, Long Island has produced fewer rental units than other suburban areas in the New York metropolitan region such as Westchester and northern New Jersey. From 2000 to 2011, Long Island built only half as much new housing per capita as other tri-state area suburbs. Rentals make up only 20% of Long Island’s housing stock, the profiles show, compared with 38% in Westchester and 37% in Northern New Jersey.

Through a case study of an affordable housing development in Bay Shore on Long Island, the research demonstrates that well-designed, mixed-income, multi-family housing developments are assets to their communities by invigorating economies, improving quality of life and enhancing safety.

“High housing costs on Long Island trap too many residents into economically precarious situations, and deter others, especially young adults, from moving to the area,” said Christopher Jones, RPA’s vice president for research. “We hope that these housing profiles will aid local leaders and residents who are evaluating how and where to expand their housing supply to adapt to conditions in their communities.”

David Okorn, Executive Director, Long Island Community Foundation, said: “It’s ironic that Long Island, which once led the nation in developing affordable housing that helped foster the metropolitan region’s economic surge for generations, now lags behind many places in providing housing options that meet the needs of its residents. We can and must get back to leading by example.”

“As Community Development Corporation of Long Island works in communities to expand rental housing opportunities for seniors and families, we engage local residents, businesses and government in a dialogue about the importance of meeting the need for more diverse housing choices,” said Marianne Garvin, president and chief executive of CDCLI. “Having objective, factual information will advance this valuable conversation and allow us to plan better for the future.”

“The materials contained in this report will provide clarity and analysis for all of our elected and appointed officials who have the responsibility to provide affordable housing for our residents,” said Mitchell H. Pally, chief executive officer of the Long Island Builders Institute. “Hopefully this can lead to a better understanding of the issues involved and a better opportunity for all our municipalities to allow for such housing in a comprehensive manner.”

Peter Elkowitz, President and CEO, Long Island Housing Partnership Inc., said: “It is imperative for the Long Island region to understand the importance of creating affordable, fair housing for all. This includes affordable housing for our young and senior populations. Planning for affordable housing should consider homeownership and rentals units with various bedroom sizes meeting the needs for various incomes. This data tool will allow for proper planning for future affordable housing across Long Island.”

“The housing and income data profiles provide critical information for assessing local affordable housing needs on Long Island,” said Eileen Auld, New York Tri-State Market Director of Citi Community Development. “At Citi, we are pleased to support the development of this new data, which serves as a tool to educate, empower, and challenge all of us to promote and develop innovative strategies that work towards strengthening Long Island communities.”

Jo Anne Durovich, Director, Institute for Attainable Homes, St. Joseph's College, said: “Long Island is experiencing a desperate shortage of safe, affordable housing, and we need a variety of housing options to meet the needs of our population now and into the future. This data allows us to plan more effectively for our future and ensure that Long Island continues to be a destination where our young people choose to stay, where families and seniors can afford to live and a destination where we continue to welcome new residents and businesses.”

The housing research will be hosted by the newly launched Institute for Attainable Homes at St. Joseph’s College and can be found here: scny.edu/iah. The institute works with leaders and community members throughout the region to reverse the trend of young people, families, retirees and businesses leaving Long Island as a result of limited housing options.

The housing profiles initiative was made possible by a generous grant from Citi Community Development and the Long Island Community Foundation.

About Long Island Community Foundation

The Long Island Community Foundation is the Island’s community foundation, making grants to improve the region and helping donors with their philanthropy since 1978. LICF staff identify current and future community needs, strengthen the Island’s nonprofit sector, encourage philanthropy, and, with generous donors, build a permanent endowment to address these needs. LICF has made more than $130 million in grants from hundreds of funds established by individuals, families, and businesses. LICF is a division of The New York Community Trust, one of the country’s oldest and largest community foundations. For more information, please visit www.licf.org

About Regional Plan Association
Regional Plan Association is America’s most distinguished independent urban research and advocacy organization. RPA improves the New York metropolitan region's economic health, environmental sustainability and quality of life through research, planning and advocacy. Since the 1920s, RPA has produced three landmark plans for the region and is working on a fourth plan that will tackle challenges related to sustained economic growth and opportunity, climate change, infrastructure and the fiscal health of our state and local governments. For more information, please visit www.rpa.org.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.