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Molinaro Directs $12.3 Million to Establish Countywide Housing Trust Fund

Published: 8/18/2022

Poughkeepsie, NY ... Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is directing more than $12 million to be invested in the establishment of a countywide Housing Trust Fund to provide a flexible and nimble funding source to aid the implementation of a variety of affordable housing efforts, as recommended in the 2022 Dutchess County Housing Needs Assessment, targeting affordability for low- and moderate-income residents throughout the County.

Nationally, housing trusts have proven to be valuable sources of flexible funding to aid the implementation of a variety of affordable housing efforts. The goals of Dutchess County’s Housing Trust Fund include:

  • providing financial support for the creation of affordable housing distributed throughout Dutchess County;
  • making affordable housing activities throughout the county more competitive for securing other funding sources;
  • supporting housing which is a priority for the county but for which other funding is unavailable or very limited; and
  • prioritizing projects that result in the creation of housing at higher levels of affordability.

County Executive Molinaro said, “As communities throughout the nation deal with housing challenges, Dutchess County is working on solutions, and our Housing Trust Fund is a tremendous step in making safe, affordable housing available throughout our county. This sizeable investment represents the importance Dutchess County places on helping those who seek a place to call ‘home’ find it, whether that means rehabilitating current housing, or creating new units or offering financial assistance to those looking to buy their first home. I thank my legislative colleagues for their consideration of this transformative initiative, and I look forward to countless families throughout Dutchess County benefiting from this program for years to come.”

The Housing Trust Fund will feature three main components: a Housing Creation and Preservation (HCP) Program, the Infrastructure and Pre-Development Support (IPDS) Program and a First-Time Homeownership (FTH) Program.

New affordable rental housing through new construction, rehabilitation of existing housing stock and adaptive reuse of non-residential structures are eligible activities under the HCP; funded projects may be fully affordable or mixed-income, and single-room occupancy rental housing is eligible. The HCP also allows for acquisition-only for the creation of affordable rental housing, limited to projects by non-profit development entities; acquisition and/or rehabilitation of occupied, naturally occurring affordable rental housing with income-eligible tenants to secure long-term affordability with applicable compliance periods; and preservation/rehabilitation of existing affordable rental housing with expiring compliance periods.

The IPDS allows for the expansion/extension of water and/or sewer infrastructure for affordable and mixed-income housing developments; the development of generic environmental impact statements (GEIS) to streamline the development of affordable/mixed-income housing supported by the local municipality – GEIS must be supported by zoning to permit and streamline the creation of affordable housing through inclusionary zoning, density bonuses or other strategies; zoning revisions to permit and streamline the creation of affordable housing through inclusionary zoning policies, density bonuses or other strategies – a municipal match will be required; and oversight of administration of affordable units created through municipal inclusionary policies, density bonuses, or other strategies.

The FTH will support a locally sourced program for subordinate, or “soft second,” mortgages to provide down payment and closing cost assistance for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers who can afford a mortgage but lack savings to cover the down payment and/or closing costs. The program will also support construction or rehabilitation to create affordable homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers undertaken by non-profit entities.

Upon creation of the Housing Trust Fund, the first application round will encompass two of the eligible activities from within the Housing Creation and Preservation (HCP) program: the creation of new affordable rental housing through new construction, rehabilitation, or adaptive reuse; and acquisition and/or rehabilitation of occupied, naturally occurring affordable rentals. This initial application round is expected to be released in late September.

To initially support the Housing Trust Fund, County Executive Molinaro has forwarded a resolution to the Dutchess County Legislature to allocate $9.3 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds and an additional $3 million from general fund balance.  The resolution will be reviewed at the Legislature’s Committee Meeting this evening and it is expected the full Legislature will vote on the resolution at their Aug. 22nd board meeting, which will be held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, 6636 Route 9 in Rhinebeck, on Wednesday, Aug. 22nd, starting at 7 p.m.

Town of LaGrange Supervisor Alan Bell said, “We thank Dutchess County for taking the extraordinary step of establishing a countywide housing trust fund, as well County Executive Molinaro for such a sizeable investment in this important program. This initiative is a tremendous step in tackling the nationwide housing issues that many in our town and Dutchess County have experienced, and we look forward to its future success.”

The Housing Trust Fund is the latest initiative in the County’s continuing efforts – including the use of Community Development Block Grants and HOME funds, as well as the education of local municipal officials (i.e. zoning boards) and other measures – to ensure safe, affordable housing is available throughout the community. The County’s Department of Planning and Development has recently released both its 2021 Rental Housing Survey and For-Sale Housing Report, which detail various aspects of the local housing market.