County Executive:News Releases:Steinhaus Convenes Inaugural Meeting of Dutchess County Workforce Housing Coalition
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News Release    

July 13, 2004      


Steinhaus Convenes Inaugural Meeting of Dutchess County Workforce Housing Coalition

Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus convened the first meeting of the Dutchess County Workforce Housing Coalition (WHC) in Poughkeepsie at the executive office on Tuesday, July 13, 2004. WHC is a new community based initiative to encourage development of moderately priced workforce housing in Dutchess County. The WHC, the formation of which was announced late last year by County Executive Steinhaus, and further defined as a 2004 State of the County initiative, includes community leaders in government, business, non-profit, education and in the private sector.

“Accepting workforce housing as a community problem and forming partnerships such as this is the most effective way to create solutions to address such an important and complicated issue,” said County Executive Steinhaus in making the announcement. “The shortage of workforce housing is beginning to impact our ability to continue our past economic development successes. An increasing number of workers are having difficulty finding available housing and many children who grew up here can no longer afford to live here,” said Steinhaus.

Workforce housing is an emerging issue in many growing metropolitan areas across the country. Housing prices in suburban areas and New York City to the south have pushed the availability/affordability issue for housing up into Dutchess. As housing costs have increased in Dutchess County, it is facing problems similar to other high growth areas. According to research by the Fannie Mae Foundation, and other industry groups, workers who are most affected by the high cost of housing including civil servants, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, retail sales clerks and health care professionals. Often these workers cannot afford to live in the high cost areas they work and are forced to commute from elsewhere. Shortages of these invaluable workers will have a serious negative impact unless we find solutions to the workforce housing issue.
 
WHC will work to stimulate partnerships between the Coalition, communities and employers to foster solutions appropriate to the community to house its workers. WHC has been developed by the County Executive in recognition of the need for an economically diverse workforce in Dutchess County. WHC will work to assure the existence of a variety of housing types to address the housing needs of a diverse workforce by asking all communities to take specific actions to facilitate workforce housing.

The WHC is supported by grants from the County of Dutchess and the Dyson Foundation. The WHC Board will direct the activities of the Coalition with technical assistance from the County’s Department of Planning Development and the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation, which will also act as the fiduciary for the WHC.
 

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Deborah DeLong of Wappingers Falls has been appointed Executive Director of WHC, bringing her experience in the housing and community development field to work for the WHC goals. She has 20 years of expertise in the development of housing programs, projects, policy development in New York State at both the non-profit and government levels. She recently arrived in Dutchess County from Southern California, where she worked on developing housing programs to address issues similar to those faced in Dutchess County – including escalating housing costs, local development issues and working creating partnerships with a range of entities to access resources for housing purposes.

Executive Director Deborah DeLong said, "I'm very happy to work with the Workforce Housing Coalition. The leadership and expertise of the County, the Dyson Foundation, the Economic Development Corporation, and the Coalition Board Members will ensure that the Coalition will have a significant impact on the housing issues facing workers in Dutchess County."

The Coalition Board includes a range of Dutchess County leaders who bring a unique focus and perspective to the organization. Representing government are Roger Akeley, DC Department of Planning and Development; Peter Idema, Town of East Fishkill; Joe Luna, Town of LaGrange; Marc Molinaro, Village of Tivoli, County Legislator; and Norma Drummond, East Fishkill Planning Board. Diana Gurieva of the Dyson Foundation represents the foundation.

Business members are Beth Coleman, Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce; Ronald Coan, Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation; and Douglas Nestler, Prudential Serls Real Estate. Business members include Susan Thompson, Pawling Corporation; Marilyn Ardito, GAP; Robert Diano, Vassar Hospital; and Steven Cole, IBM.

Gail Webster, Hudson River Housing; M.T. O’Leary, Hudson Valley Housing Development Fund Company; and Deborah Meyer Dewan, Scenic Hudson, represent nonprofit membership.
 
Mary Paden of Key Bank represents banking. Private developers include David Stenger, Creekview Ltd. and Mike Meyer, Farm Development Corporation. Education is represented by Ed McCormick, board member, Arlington School District.
 
The next steps will include introducing the purpose of the Coalition to the communities, development of the employer-based education and downpayment assistance program and investigating development opportunities.

Questions regarding the Coalition should be directed to Deborah DeLong, Executive Director, WHC at (845) 463-5400 ext. 405.

* * * * *

County Executive Steinhaus made the availability of housing for all Dutchess County residents a priority for county government to seek solutions over the past four years. Since that time he created the Smart Growth Housing Task Force in 2001 to explore the county’s capacity to help shape the supply of a diversity of housing options within Dutchess. And most recently, in his 2004 State of the County, Executive Steinhaus announced the formation of the Dutchess County Workforce Housing Coalition.

Recently, the County has helped to fund and completed construction on nearly 70 workforce housing units. Upward of 150 additional units are currently under construction under the County’s direction and participation. Since 2000 the County has directed over $3 million dollars toward the creation and construction of workforce housing. Most recently, Dutchess County targeted $370,000 to the 400 Block in the City of Poughkeepsie that will provide 54 rental-housing units for families and is currently under construction.


Summary of Projects:

Recently Completed Housing Projects

Development Name/Location Developer County Funding Number/Type of Units
Meadow Ridge, Beacon Hudson Valley Housing Development Fund Company $440,000 54 rental units for families
Harlow Row, Poughkeepsie Hudson River Housing $310,000 8 rental units for families
Garden Street, Poughkeepsie Hudson River Housing $679,000 7 owner-occupied units, 7 rental units


Housing Projects under Construction

Development Name/Location Developer County Funding Number/Type of Units
400 Block, Poughkeepsie Pennrose/Duvernay + Brooks $370,000 54 rental units for families
300 Block, Poughkeepsie Behrends $314,000 30 rental units for individuals
DiMarco II, Wappingers Falls Hudson Valley Housing Development Fund Company $250,000 32 rental units for senior citizens
Northeast Affordable Housing, Millerton Housing Resources $360,895 22 rental units for seniors and families
Church Alliance, Millbrook Church Alliance $35,000 12 rental units for seniors
Conklin/Mansion Street, Poughkeepsie Hudson River Housing $171,960 8 homeownership units


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