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Rural New York faces looming housing crisis and eviction surge

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  • Staff Report 

Rural areas in New York are bracing for a significant housing crisis, with a potential surge in evictions forecasted over the next decade, warns the Rural Housing Coalition of New York State. Leaders with the group have criticized the governor’s executive budget for overlooking rural housing needs and cutting crucial funding. These reductions target programs essential for emergency home repairs for seniors and housing modifications for disabled veterans, alongside support for nonprofit rural housing organizations.

The crisis is partly attributed to the sunset of the USDA’s “Section 515” program, which has provided affordable rental housing in rural communities since 1949. As the 30-year mortgages issued under this program in the 1980s reach maturity, affordability protections and rental assistance are set to expire, leaving many residents, particularly the elderly and disabled, at risk of eviction due to unaffordable rent increases or market-rate adjustments by landlords.

With a stark shortage of rental housing in rural New York, where up to 78% of housing stock is owner-occupied, the Rural Housing Coalition is advocating for $25 million in state funding for the Mitchell-Lama Housing Program to preserve and rehabilitate these properties. This intervention is critical to maintain housing affordability for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations, particularly in the ten counties most affected by the loss of “Section 515” properties.