Modified: June 8, 2022 1:45pm
The 2022 Live Well Erie Affordable Housing Summit convened at the West Seneca Community Center today, bringing elected officials and planning board members from fourteen different cities, towns, and villages across Erie County as well as housing developers and not-for-profit organizations from across Western New York to examine and expand options for affordable housing across Erie County. The construction of new affordable housing was identified by Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz as a countywide need in his 2022 State of the County address and attendees at today’s Summit brought their expertise, experience and perspectives on affordable housing to bear with a goal of expanding and enhancing affordable housing across the county.
Over sixty attendees participated in the three-hour Affordable Housing Summit, which included presentations, break out sessions and a panel discussion. Presenters included Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz; Lenny Skrill, Assistant Commissioner of the NYS Housing and Community Renewal Agency; Yvonne C. McCray, Director of Housing for the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency; Dr. Frank Cerny, Director of the Rural Outreach Center; Brad Packard, Executive Vice-President of Belmont Housing Resources of WNY; and Karen Rybicki, Deputy Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Social Services and Live Well Erie co-chair, along with others.
“Affordable housing is an issue affecting communities nationwide, not just here in Erie County, and by convening this Summit we are taking the first steps towards a more comprehensive approach to expand and enhance affordable housing options locally,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Everyone deserves to have a safe and affordable place to live from which to build their own American dream, and we are working as a team in Erie County to make that happen.”
In 2022, Erie County is set to receive over $3.4 million in federal Home Investment Partnership (“HOME”) funds from the U.S. Department of housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) for use in the county’s Community Development Consortium, which consists of 34 municipalities. These funds can be used as grant funding to for-profit and non -profit developers in the construction of new units of affordable housing. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the U.S. Census, in 2020, 27% of Erie County households were “housing cost burdened” and paying over 30% of their household income on rent or mortgage and utilities. Additionally, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis average U.S. home prices have increased over 30% since 2020 while average U.S. rents have increased over 20 %.
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