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Wayne County looks to address affordable housing shortage

Wayne County is taking a step toward developing an affordable housing strategy.

Most communities across the Finger Lakes and Upstate New York have been dealing with the growing prevalence of a lackluster housing stock. To make matters worse, it has increased competition within individual rental markets- making affordable housing of any kind difficult to come by.

Wayne County is evaluating a developing opportunities to preserve and create more affordable housing for its residents. To support existing rental housing as a major component of affordable housing, Wayne County has secured funding to offer a series of free educational workshops for local landlords and housing providers in September.

The New York State Preservation Opportunity Program (NYS-POP), authorized by Attorney General Letitia James and managed through Enterprise Community Partners, is a $12 million program created to support local housing agencies and authorities outside of New York City to develop strategic approaches to preserving existing affordable housing portfolios. Affordable housing is a term defined by federal housing standards as housing in which the occupant is paying no more than 30 percent of gross income for housing costs, including utilities. This definition is applied most commonly in reference to home ownership, but is also applied when referring to rentals.

Through NYS-POP, Wayne County recently completed an Affordable Housing Needs Assessment which identified a need for more affordable rental units. According to the U.S. Census, Wayne County has approximately 1,500 affordable rental units, which is based on a median gross rent of $742 per month and median annual gross income for renters of $27,094. The study also found that a shortage of quality housing is a prevalent issue in the county, highlighting recent efforts to address the issue of derelict properties in the County. Investment from both public and private sources is necessary in order to add more affordable housing units to the marketplace.

During the month of September, local landlords and housing providers are invited to attend four free online workshops aimed at establishing and maintaining affordable housing units. Workshop sessions will be hosted by Wayne County Economic Development & Planning Department on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom starting September 7th. These 2-hour workshops will be led by real estate legal expert Jaime Cain of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP of Buffalo, NY. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to fair housing, leasing basics, market rate rents, and legal issues. Registration is required.

“We think it’s important to engage and develop relationships with our local rental housing providers,” said Brian Pincelli, Dept. Director. “Having a sufficient supply of housing that is affordable to households all along the income spectrum is critical to supporting a vibrant and sustainable local economy.”

The Finger Lakes Landlord Association (FLLA), now a regional non-profit membership organization that was initiated by a small group of Wayne County landlords, is supportive of these workshops. “The majority of our members are small, local landlords who are already providing this valuable service to the community,” said Steve Austin, a Wayne County landlord who is on the FLLA Board of Directors. “If there is an opportunity to partner with Wayne County on programs that benefit both landlords and tenants, we are all ears.”

For more information on registering for these workshops, contact the Wayne County Economic Development and Planning Dept. at 315-946-5919 or visit

Categories: NewsWayne County