RESPONSE: County Executive Latimer’s State of the County Fails to Address Westchester’s Housing Crisis by Juanita Lewis

Date:

Thursday, March 14, 2024 (WESTCHESTER, NY) — County Executive George Latimer delivered his 2024 State of the County Address Thursday evening, following dozens rallying outside for social justice and Palestine. In response to CE Latimer’s STOC address, Juanita O. Lewis, Executive Director of Community Voices Heard, issued the following statement on the growing housing crisis in Westchester County:

“The health and prosperity of our Westchester communities depend on having safe, affordable housing. Over the past several years, rents and housing costs in Westchester have continued to skyrocket, without any relief for families. As we highlighted in our report, Building Westchester’s Future: The Need for Affordable and Equitable Housing, Westchester is in a severe housing crisis, marked by extreme racial disparities. Unfortunately, County Executive Latimer and his administration have failed again and again to address the crisis, despite repeated warnings from housing advocates.

The County’s own 2019 housing report found that Westchester has a severe shortage of deeply affordable housing and senior housing, and the problem has only grown worse since then. An increasing number of families are spending half or more of their income on rent or mortgage payments, and the County hasn’t implemented any kind of plan to stabilize costs and grow the stock of truly affordable housing. 

Westchester also has a one-time opportunity to spend $100 million of ARPA funds to support deeply affordable housing – for people with household incomes at 30% AMI or less ($44,050 or less for a four-person family). Yet, the County plans to spend that money to develop housing for households making up to 65% of the Area Median Income – or $95,438 for a family of four.

Real housing affordability should be a top priority of County Executive Latimer. But instead, families in Westchester have been left behind once again.

Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a member-led, multi-racial organization principally comprised of women of color and low-income families in New York State. CVH tackles tough issues and builds power to secure racial, social, and economic justice for all New Yorkers. Through grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy changes, and creating new models of direct democracy, CVH is creating a truly equitable New York State.

AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Rap Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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