New Incentive for New York Municipalities to Expand Affordable Housing

New Incentive for New York Municipalities to Expand Affordable Housing

If your municipality wants priority consideration for a number of New York State discretionary funds, it has to obtain Pro-Housing Community Certification.

Although attempts to gain support of affordable housing initiatives in New York faltered earlier this year, Governor Hochul remains committed to boosting affordable housing by 800,000 units within a decade. On August 31, the Pro-Housing Communities Program opened for business, providing financial incentives for municipalities to get on board with affordable housing growth. Municipalities that either meet affordable housing growth metrics or commit to the program’s principles will be rewarded by earning priority consideration for more than $650 million in state discretionary funds.

The press release announcing the program notes, “Certified Pro-Housing Communities will be considered first among localities applying for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI); NY Forward program;  Regional Council Capital Fund; capital projects from the Market New York program; New York Main Street program; Long Island Investment Fund (LIIF); Mid-Hudson Momentum Fund;  Public Transportation Modernization Enhancement Program (MEP); and any other funding where future appropriation language designates it as a Pro-Housing Community program.”

To apply for Pro-Housing Community Certification, an authorized official must email a letter of intent. Then, applicants must provide information on local zoning codes and housing permit approvals in the past five years in the templates provided. A municipality must show approval of permits increasing housing stock by 1% (downstate) or 0.33% (upstate) over the past year or permits increasing housing stock by 3% (downstate) or 1% (upstate) over the past 3 years. Within 90 days, the municipality will receive a decision about certification.

If your municipality hasn’t met housing growth requirements, it can still obtain certification by passing a defined Pro-Housing Resolution.

By March 31, of each year, localities must resubmit any zoning updates and housing permit data to remain certified. For the application and complete program details, click here.

This is just one of a number of executive actions the Governor is taking to address New York’s housing crisis. Additional actions include a program to advance residential projects halted by the expiration of 421-A in Gowanus; a requirement that state entities ID state-owned lands that may support housing; and a portal collecting and sharing community housing and zoning data.

In our neck of the woods, this summer, the City of Kingston bolstered its efforts related to affordable housing development by adopting a new form-based zoning code designed to make it easier for development to occur and establishing a Department of Housing Initiatives to support the City’s housing planning.


If you’re interested in learning more about how the lack of affordable housing impacts New York and its residents (or former residents), check out these articles from Pew Research and The Fiscal Policy Institute.

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