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Supervisor: County Dispute Should Not Punish Towns

Photo Credit: Contributed

The battle between the county, HUD over the affordable housing exclusionary zoning lawsuit is hurting communities like Greenburgh that are in compliance with affordable housing.

The Town  of Greenburgh and other municipalities in Westchester, are not able to access CDBG and LEAD abatement funds that would be earmarked to  low and moderate income communities and households. Among initiatives that the town of Greenburgh has not been able to pursue: a Manhattan Avenue improvement initiative and a safety issue on 9A – programs that are needed to help adjacent low and moderate income areas.  The town is losing close to $1.5 million in grant assistance because the federal government is holding up funding of the CDBG program to the county – to punish the county for not being in compliance.

I believe that the there is a solution that could help alleviate the impact on innocent bystanders. HUD should transfer the funding of CDBG and LEAD abatement funds to the state of New York to be used to administer permitted activities in Westchester for communities that have met the affordable housing goals.  This would in no way dilute the ability of HUD and the Monitor to take whatever steps they deem to be needed to bring the County in compliance with the settlement agreements and would in no way weaken the ability of the County Executive to argue that there is no valid basis for the assertions of HUD and the monitor. The county government acts as an administrator of the CDBG program. The grants are largely a pass thru for programs carried out by the municipal members of the consortium. Why should innocent local governments be hurt by issues that we have no control over? I would like to set up a meeting with the United States Secretary of HUD Shawn Donovan and with fellow municipal, county, state and federal officials who will become part of a coalition that can lobby for this solution.    I will be forming a county coalition to push for a state takeover of CDBG programs in Westchester. The bottom line is that poor people are in the middle of a political dispute and are getting hurt. The above proposal is urgently needed to address this matter. I would welcome the opportunity to meet to discuss.

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