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EXPLAINED IN 90 SECONDS: How does new state budget address rural housing issues?

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

New York’s 2025 budget takes proactive steps to address rural housing.

In the budget, $10 million was allocated for improvements to rural housing built by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Section 515 program. Rural housing organizations asked for $25 million but are grateful the state is taking action.

Mike Borges, executive director of the Rural Housing Coalition of New York, said another bill the Legislature should pass makes the Mobile and Manufactured Home Replacement Program permanent.

“Basically what that does is provide grants to low- to moderate-income people to replace their mobile homes that are dilapidated and unsafe,” Borges explained.

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He would also like to see administration fees increase for nonprofits taking part in the Access to Home Program, which provides accessibility modification for low- to moderate-income residents. Reports showed it got requests totaling $12 million but only got enough funding for $1 million in improvements. The Senate is poised to pass both bills, leaving the Assembly as the final hurdle.

However, the budget was not perfect for rural housing. Borges said one shortcoming for the 2025 budget were cuts to the RESTORE program, which provides housing restoration for seniors. He said New York should take action now to continue improving rural housing preservation and development.

“We need a comprehensive housing initiative that looks at the obstacles to building and renovating, repairing housing in rural communities,” Borges contended. “The three main obstacles to that are local capacity, infrastructure and targeted programs for rural housing.”

He added rural areas do not often have the same resources and capacity as urban communities. Because rural housing is in short supply because of the aging housing stock, there have been stark population declines from rural New York communities.