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EXCLUSIVE: 31% of rural New Yorkers want increased funding for building new homes

⁠new report⁠ outlined the need to preserve rural New York’s affordable rental housing. The report from the Regional Plan Association report showed by 2027, hundreds of rural tenants will be displaced each year as a decades-old program ends.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ⁠Section 515 program⁠ provided low-cost financing for developing affordable multifamily units. The properties boomed in the 1980s and ’90s, but their mortgages expire soon. Mike Borges, executive director of the Rural Housing Coalition of New York, said the state should continue funding the properties.

“We’re asking for a $25 million investment by the state to support this initiative that would rehab these properties,” Borges explained. “These properties, you know, are 30 years old or older, and in need of a lot of repair and rehabilitation.”

Beyond the funding, he added New York can also address barriers to rural development, including building up water and sewer infrastructure, programs for rural needs, and better funding support for local housing nonprofits.

New York’s aging stock has left rural housing in ⁠short supply⁠, which has been a primary factor ⁠in an exodus⁠ from rural New York neighborhoods. The New York State funds would be used as a stopgap measure in place of federal action. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s ⁠2025 budget proposal⁠ slashes funds for rural housing programs. Borges noted the federal government’s budget impasse is a sign rural housing is not a high priority.

“That’s why we’re asking the state to address the program because we don’t have a lot of faith in the current divided Congress in addressing pressing problems facing the country,” Borges emphasized. “Housing being one of them.” As New York’s budget process continues, Borges is hopeful the Hochul’s cuts will be reversed, with more funding added.

A Marist Poll found ⁠31% of rural New Yorkers⁠ want the state government to increase funding for the development of new homes.

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