The Friendly Village Housing Proposal

Our neighbors in Mamaroneck have long claimed the title “The Friendly Village”. But now they are in one of those bitter suburban battles arising from the housing availability and affordability crisis in our region, after Mamaroneck solicited proposals for affordable housing. You can read about it in this article in the Mamaroneck High School student paper.

WestHab, arguably the best non-profit developer of affordable housing in Westchester County, made a proposal that offered a broad range of apartment sizes for a broad range of income levels, at the best available location in the Village, at a scale best suited for the location. To the full extent permitted by law, certain units will be allocated to current Village residents living in substandard conditions. Unfortunately, NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) opposition has been strong. I wrote about this last month.

I believe if you call yourself a supporter of affordable housing, you really need to support this proposal. Further, if you consider yourself a responsible Mamaroneck taxpayer who wants funding for local infrastructure from federal, state and county levels of government — for flood mitigation, for example —  you need to be sure that your Village complies with the fair and affordable housing mandates of federal law to remain eligible for such aid. Say YES to affordable, mixed income housing in YES-Chester!

More on Housing: Tenants’ Right to Counsel (RTC)

I recently attended an all-day symposium at Fordham Law School on “Crisis in Access to Justice” in the civil legal system (i,e., housing court, family court, consumer debt, and criminal fines and fees) with 200 of us in person and another 500 “Zooming in” from across the country. The lack of counsel for most renters facing eviction was a recurring theme throughout the day. So far, RTC laws have been passed in only 17 cities, 4 states and 1 county in the US.  And I’m proud to say that one county is us, having passed our law in May of last year, my last year in the County Legislature. What I was not so proud to report to the symposium presenters was that our program was still in the preliminary implementation stage more than 9 months after enactment and that our County Executive had insisted on a three-year sunset provision in the law. Please tell your County Legislators to lengthen, if not eliminate, the sunset to give this law more time to show its worth as ultimately saving the County and its taxpayers the societal and fiscal costs of homelessness!