Wednesday, September 16th, HTHC Steering Committee member Roger Weaving spoke at a Huntington Town Board public hearing in opposition to Resolution 2015-392 that would place even more onerous restrictions on the conversion to or creation of two-family homes in R5 districts. Two-family homes, while rare in Huntington, are yet another housing mode which can add to the stock of much-needed affordable homes in the Town, thereby helping to stem the flow of young people out of Huntington. The current law requires that a single- family home converted into a two-family home be at least five years old and that the applicant for the conversion show “hardship” if the request is not granted. The proposed amendments would require that an applicant show “severe hardship” before a two-family home can be either converted or constructed. Both the original law and the proposed amendments are filled with arbitrary and vague language, such as a requirement in 2015-392 that the two-family home “appear” like a single-family home, with no language in the legislation that describes what a single-family home should “appear” to be. HTHC is therefore opposing 2015-392 and has called on the Town Board to revisit the original restrictions on two-family homes. You can read the HTHC letter to the Town Board here: HTHC two family homes FINAL letter
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A September 6th, 2015 New York Times editorial titled, “The Architecture of Segregation,” observed that, almost 50 years after the federal Fair Housing Act was enacted, “minorities find themselves trapped in high poverty neighborhoods without decent housing, schools or jobs, and with few avenues of escape” because, in part, “federally subsidized housing for low-income citizens … is disproportionately built in poor areas….” This pattern of confining low-income residents to communities with significant minority populations – like Huntington Station – while denying them a chance to live in ” high opportunity” communities – like Dix Hills – has been encouraged by programs such as New York State’s administration of the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits program. According to ERASE Racism, “families living in ‘affordable housing’ subsidized by Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) are excluded from opportunity and have to accept failing schools, high concentrations of poverty and racial segregation. This is because New York State’s scoring system that is used to determine which projects will be funded, places scant emphasis on projects that are located in high-opportunity neighborhoods.” To counter this policy, HTHC supports ERASE Racism’s petition calling on New York State to grant LIHTC subsidies for affordable housing in high opportunity neighborhoods. Please sign the petition at: http://www.eraseracismny.org/get-involved/sign-a-petition
The Huntington Township hosing Coalition will host a meet and greet for the Huntington and Melville Chambers of Commerce “Young Professionals” on Tuesday, September 29th, 7:00-9:00 PM at Quetzalcoatl Restaurant, 296 Main Street. The event is titled: “Huntington’s Rental Housing Shortage: Your Experiences … Possible Solutions.” The program will engage young professionals in a conversation around the difficulties they are having obtaining affordable rental housing in Huntington as well as what can be done to increase the stock of this housing. Appetizers and sangria will be provided. There is no charge. Please RSVP by September 25th to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the flier with details: YHTHC young professionals flyer
The widely acclaimed six hour HBO series that began Sunday, August 16th to run for three consecutive Sundays at 8PM, documents the ferocious political and legal battle in the late 1980s over a court order requiring the City of Yonkers to disperse low income and affordable housing from the segregated African American section of town to the all white, working class and middle class parts of Yonkers. This series is a must see for all people concerned about affordable housing because it documents the fears, hatred and pain on all sides of the issue. Some of the scenes of angry anti-housing opponents storming the City Council meetings appear to be out of the South during the protests against Jim Crow 20 years earlier, yet they took place just a few miles from Huntington. Interestingly, there is a moment early on in the HBO show when the new mayor decides not to appeal the judge’s decision because his attorneys advised him Yonkers would surely lose the case. This may very well have been due to the 1988 decision by the US Supreme Court ordering Huntington to stop placing all its low income and affordable housing in Huntington Station. You can read a 1988 New York Times analysis of both the Huntington and Yonkers cases here. If you missed the first episode of this excellent HBO series, you can see it On Demand.