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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

NYS budget proposal doesn’t address rural housing needs

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Friday, January 19, 2024   

Gov. Kathy Hochul's 2025 budget proposal is missing key funding priorities for rural housing, according to a coalition advocating for the issue.

The new budget cuts funding for programs to help rural areas address housing needs, including cuts to the Rural Preservation Program used by nonprofits in their communities.

Mike Borges, executive director of the Rural Housing Coalition of New York, feels it is a step backward, compared to last year's more ambitious budget. He described the types of funding needed to help rural homeowners.

"What we need is capacity-building funding," Borges explained. "That funding that goes to nonprofit housing organizations so they have the capacity to do the work that's needed in their communities. We need money for infrastructure. Rural communities lack water and sewer, a lot of them do."

He added rural areas' lack of this infrastructure is often a barrier to developing more housing. Borges emphasized he is hopeful as the budget process continues, the Legislature will reverse the cuts suggested by Hochul. A Marist Poll found 31% of rural New Yorkers want state government to increase funding for developing new homes.

Outside factors have also been to blame for the lack of housing being built in rural New York. In particular, high construction costs during the pandemic prevented developers from breaking ground on rural projects, and Borges noted the disinvestment is translating into an exodus from rural communities.

"They see the housing stock declining. They see the population declining. I think that kind of goes hand in hand," Borges observed. "If people don't have someplace to live, they're going to move and relocate elsewhere."

A Rural Housing Coalition of New York report showed rural counties have seen 50,000 people leave in the last decade. And a 2021 New York State Comptroller report showed 10 rural counties had 5,500 fewer housing units than they did in 2016.

Disclosure: The Rural Housing Coalition of New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Housing/Homelessness Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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