Ulster County Legislator Abe Uchitelle hears his from constituents in the city of Kingston all the time about how serious the housing crisis is right now.
“It’s gut-wrenching to think about how many people are living in hotels and how many people are relying on DSS to have a roof over their heads," Uchietelle said.
He’s leading the way to create a county Housing Action Fund. If enacted, it would dedicate money toward developing and maintaining affordable housing in the area.
The reverse would be doled out to affordable housing projects, with funding tied to the number of units it would create.
County Executive Jen Metzger supports it, and she wants to see an initial investment of $15 million of the county’s budget surplus into the fund.
“Encourage the kind of housing that we want to see," she said. "We want to encourage innovative housing solutions. Things like tiny home communities or co-housing. But again, the theme is affordability, the theme is also sustainability.”
The legislature still needs to vote to approve an oversight board for the fund and solidify how much the county will invest in it. But Uchitelle says this type of legislation is critical to keeping Ulster affordable for the folks that live there.
“Really commit to funding programs like this and in particular this program, which I believe is our best shot at creating long-term affordable units of housing that we desperately need in this community," he said.
Ulster County’s Health, Human Services and Housing committee will vote on it on May 31. If it approves it, it will move to the Ways and Means committee and finally, if it passes there, a floor vote on June 13.