City Seeks Affordable Housing Development Planning
The City of Hudson is requesting proposals from qualified professional consultants to assist with creating a plan for the development of affordable housing. The plan will be a collaboration between several organizations that addresses a wide variety of housing needs and types of affordable housing. The plan will review developable properties, funding opportunities, and development feasibility in order to create a document that recommends the operations, timeline, and partnerships for developing affordable housing.
Proposals are due on August 3
“Too many of our residents are struggling with housing in Hudson,” says Mayor Kamal Johnson. “Creating an affordable housing development plan is an important step to meet Hudson’s housing needs.”
The 2018 Strategic Housing Action Plan (SHAP), approved by the Common Council, identifies the need for affordable housing calls for the “production of new housing options: facilitate and support the development of new mixed-income housing activities carried out by private and non-profit developers, community groups and individuals.”
Since Hudson does not have a planner, engineer, or staff member dedicated to land use or housing, Hudson needs to look to outside support to develop affordable housing. The affordable housing development plan will help identify and solve key problems to advance the development of affordable housing.
“I’m happy to be contributing to our community and advancing this important project,” says City of Hudson Public Works Commissioner Peter Bujanow, who is managing the request for proposals. “This plan will help Hudson residents live with housing stability."
The plan will incorporate the variety of housing needs, which include a mix of income levels as well as rental and homeownership. Not every development project in the plan needs to address every need, but the totality of the projects need to have a comprehensive impact.
“Columbia County Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) applauds Mayor Johnson and the City of Hudson for its focus on broadening affordable housing opportunities,” says F. Michael Tucker, President and CEO of CEDC. “CEDC looks forward to partnering with Hudson and Columbia County in developing a wider variety of housing units to meet the needs of all county residents.”
BACKGROUND ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING
DEFINING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Housing that is affordable costs no more than 30 percent of a household income for low-income households. For renters, this includes rent and tenant-paid utilities. For homeowners, this includes mortgage, insurance, and taxes.
WE NEED MORE AFFORDABLE RENTAL UNITS
The 2017 Housing Needs Assessment concluded that there is a scarcity of good quality cost-accessible family rental housing throughout Columbia County. Hudson’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant application states that “43% of households pay more than 30% of their household income for housing—a standard calculation of economic strain.” This is not a new finding, Hudson’s 2012 Housing Needs Analysis found a particular lack of cost-accessible units for households with $15,000 income or less. It also found that 44 percent of renters are paying more than 35 percent of their income for rent.
Low and moderate-income tenants that find affordable housing often suffer from bad conditions and because of the housing scarcity they fear reporting the issues. They worry that they will be evicted and then will have no other option. (2017 Housing Needs Assessment)
In Hudson, available aid often goes unused because there aren’t enough affordable housing options. In addition, Hudson residents are often forced to leave Hudson in order to find an affordable place to live.
SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP
The 2017 Housing Needs Assessment concluded that there is a scarcity of good quality moderate-income owner-occupied single-family homes. Likewise, the 2012 study found “A substantial proportion of Hudson’s homeowners are ‘housing cost-burdened.’” Forty-two percent pay more than the recommended 30 percent of income to housing costs. Hudson homeownership is below the national average.
Homeownership is an important step in economic opportunity. In a 2018 study, Goodman and Mayer report “Our Overall Conclusion: homeownership is a valuable institution. On average, it allows families to build wealth and serves as a measure of financial security.”
The 2017 Housing Needs Assessment found that credit issues and lack of housing stock contributed to this problem. Second homeowners as well as younger buyers moving to the County have increased housing pressures.
Many homeowners report additional changes after the 2019 re-evaluation of property taxes, taking a difficult situation, and making it worse.
HOUSING STABILITY HAS BENEFITS BEYOND HOUSING
Housing stability is key to creating opportunities. In a January 2018 research report by the Urban Institute, Corianne Scally reports:
“Those who need housing assistance but do not receive it face the threat of housing instability and may end up doubled up with family and friends or experiencing episodes of homelessness… Homelessness can lead to a particularly vicious cycle. Families may experience multiple stays in shelters or other homeless programs or become involved with the child welfare system. Individuals, particularly those with disabilities, may fall into a pattern of heavy use of emergency shelters, emergency rooms, and local jails.”
Alternatively, Scally notes, those who get housing assistance are less food insecure, are healthier (particularly for girls), and have better educational outcomes.
In the 2017 Housing Needs Assessment of Columbia County, school staff and administrators note how the lack of affordable housing in Columbia County poses education difficulties. Homelessness and housing instability can be traumatic for students and the school allocates staff and volunteer time and other resources to help compensate.
Housing stability is an essential component of a healthy community. We need to address this issue in order to address education, economic development, public health, and public safety.