Jonathan Drapkin CEO of Pattern For Progress at mike
On June 11th I attended the Pattern For Progress Housing conference at Marist College in Poughkeepsie NY. The conference was well attended and both the private and public sector were well represented.
The first guest speaker was the Duchess County Executive William Steinhaus. He too was encouraged by the attendance. His speech focused on the need for land use policies to address affordable housing. I think the point that stood out most was when he spoke about the fact that the Hudson Valley has spent billions of dollars educating our children - this is very evident from the many educational institutions to be found locally - however, the big problem is that once these students graduate they leave the area. Why? This is because of the high cost of living that is mainly due to the lack of affordable housing in our area. Yes, one of the Hudson Valley's great assets is the educated young work force we produce but we have exported this asset. Certainly this makes no business sense. He then gave examples of efforts to address the affordable housing issue. It was mentioned that in the last 20 years about 1500 properties were rehabilitated. Also, brown fields were cleaned up; an example of this was the site in Red Hook which was then used for the Seniors Complex Red Hook Commons.
Because Pattern for Progress serves 9 counties we had speakers from all over the Hudson Valley. Both members from the private sector discussed the challenge of recruiting out of state talent to the area. Marist would find good candidates to fill faculty positons but once they look into the housing situation these would then pass on the opportunity. This has resulted in heavy recruitment of local canididates. A very common practice is for one college to try and and recruit away the other institution's employees. I see this pattern repeated over and over by Vassar, Marist and Bard. Another fact that came through during this period of the meeting was that even seniors who had retired had to reenter the job market because of the high cost of housing.
One of the most timely speeches was given by Ed Murphy of Hudson River Housing This organization has done much to assist the communities in Dutchess County. One area in which help is offered is affordable housing. What is so interesting about their program is that before any of these potential buyers can purchase a property, they have to open a bank account and save regularly. This money is then matched to provide for closing costs. The buyer is also expected to go through credit couseling, budget planning, mortgage counseling and is given information about the house inspection process and other important home buying topics. This educational effort has paid off as so far none of the families who participated in this program has faced foreclosure. This is no doubt because the buyer started out with a good foundation. The point was made that if more pre-purchase education was done maybe we would not be facing the present foreclosure situation- certainly food for thought.
So why is the Hudson Valley having such an affordable housing issue? Migration fron NYC especially since 9/11/2001 resulted in an upward pressure on price, yet at the same time incomes have not kept up.
For example the area median income(AMI) for the Poughkeepsie area is $78,900 for a family of 4
Elementary School Teacher - $59,540
Registered Nurse $62,750
Police Office $52,310
Computer Analyst $72,470
At the same time in May the median home price was $325,000, not affordable for most. Yes, every group is affected by a lack of affordable housing. Some have the misconception that the affordable housing issue only refers to housing for the poor. This is not so.
I think the area is thankful to Jonathan Drapkin and his staff at Pattern For Progress for putting this conference together as well as the various organizations who sponsored the program.
Jennifer Fivelsdal - JFIVE HOMES REALTY LLC - 845-758-6842- firstname.lastname@example.org