This election, be sure to ask your candidates about housing

Not surprisingly, there is a severe housing shortage on Long Island. This has affected the cost of housing for years – both sales and rentals – and has now become a crisis, especially for those who cannot find a place they can afford. We call it stock shortages, we call it inflation, we call it greed. Overall, 35% of Long Island households are housing cost burdened, and that number rises to 62% of renters.

Long Island officials have not done enough to increase housing, let alone low- and moderate-income housing. Proposals to address the problem through fiscally and environmentally responsible solutions are continually shut down by zoning regulations, requirements details, and a series of hearings. Not to mention the officials who fall prey to NIMBY whining against any kind of housing construction.

Advocating for safe, accessible and affordable housing is an important part of our mission at Housing Help Inc. We receive calls daily from desperate people from all walks of life. Many of them never expected to find themselves unable to afford where they live and then unable to find a place to go. This affects everyone – seniors, veterans, single parents, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, young professionals, and essential workers. Communities cannot survive without essential workers. Young professionals are leaving Long Island with school tax dollars on their minds, and taking with them our dreams of future local leaders. In fact, the median age in Suffolk County rose 10% between 2011 and 2021.

With the 2023 election just days away, many Long Islanders are attending dozens of “Meet the Candidates” events across the island. Whether it is the long list of issues to be discussed or the number of candidates invited, discussions of the housing crisis have been inconsistent. Although a few good, actionable ideas were mentioned, Long Island voters have a right to know more.

If you feel that access to housing is as important as us, contact your candidates. Nothing should be as important to them as talking with a potential voter about issues that matter to them. If time no longer allows, check their websites. Among the questions they need to answer are:

What approach do you suggest to address the young population fleeing our high costs of living and reduce our brain drain?

As elected officials across the United States realize that affordable housing is a nonpartisan issue, they are making decisions to rezon and permit housing. How will you address and support much-needed affordable housing in the county?

Candidates running for elected office often pledge to create affordable housing for local workers and residents. Why don’t they follow through and what would you do differently?

Do you support zoning reform that would protect local residents from being evicted from the area and protect our environment by allowing innovative examples of environmentally friendly habitats such as accessory dwelling units, tiny homes, or recycled container housing?

Local elected officials have the power to make changes and open the way for more housing. Exercise your right to learn more about their positions on housing and voting. Then he holds them accountable.

This guest article reflects the opinions of Pilar Moya Mancera, CEO of Housing Help Inc., a nonprofit housing and financial counseling agency serving Long Island for more than 50 years.

This guest article reflects the opinions of Pilar Moya Mancera, CEO of Housing Help Inc., a nonprofit housing and financial counseling agency serving Long Island for more than 50 years.

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