A new report presented by the Huntington Township Housing Coalition to Huntington’s town board Monday cites the critical need for affordable housing and outlines several steps the town should take to address the issue.
The 28-page report, titled “Huntington Housing Horizons 2030: Documenting the need for affordable housing in Huntington,” claims the town has under-achieved its 2008 recommendation of adding nearly 2,800 units of affordable housing, as less than 18 percent of that number has been built in the last 12 years.
Proposed actions to boost the supply of affordable housing include making accessory apartments easier to create; enacting the Melville Employment Center plan to allow for more mixed-use buildings that can create more affordable apartments; and end exemptions of a 2017 law that requires all new developments have a 20-percent affordable component.
The high price of housing has taken its toll, the report says. While 68.2 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds on Long Island owned their own home or was the spouse of a homeowner in 1970, only 20.8 percent were homeowners in 2016, according to the Long Island Association.
And though many of that younger demographic would opt to rent as oppose to buy, the rising cost and scarcity of available rental housing continues to be an obstacle.
The 2020 Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Nassau and Suffolk is now $1,992, according the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s up nearly 24 percent from 2016 and higher than the current FMR in New York City.
The report points out that just 15.5 percent of Huntington’s housing stock is rental housing, which is lower than the percentage of rental housing in both Nassau and Suffolk, and substantially lower than other New York City suburbs and the U.S., all of which eclipse 35 percent in rental housing percentage.
Roger Weaving, president of the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, said the report is aimed at town officials and stakeholders to accelerate efforts to create more affordable housing.
“We want the town to take some responsibility for making something happen,” Weaving told LIBN. “Setting the zoning and hoping some affordable housing will appear is not going to work. You have to be more proactive.”
Weaving added that the report will be the basis for an ongoing information campaign and a series of public discussions on issues to be held later this year on affordable housing issues.