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Affordable Housing

Long Island is dealing with an affordable housing crisis and the Town of Islip must take a lead in addressing it. Housing costs are driving families away from Long Island, forcing them to leave their hometowns and start lives in more affordable locations like North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida. This crisis is cross-generational: both retirees and young people struggle to afford living on Long Island. As a result, Suffolk County’s population is falling, even as the population of our country grows. Outside of the human toll inflicted by unaffordable housing, the decline in population it leads to comes with economic consequences. Fewer residents will result in measurable decreases in real estate tax revenue, a reduction of qualified employees in the labor pool for local businesses and the Town of Islip, a reduction in the consumer base for existing businesses, and fewer opportunities for new businesses. Despite some big talk, our local government has thus far offered very few tangible solutions.
If we want Islip to succeed in the coming decades, we must face this crisis now. Going forward, development projects must be enacted thoughtfully, with consideration to affordability and the infrastructure needs of the involved communities. Instead of approving more luxury apartment rentals, which are beyond the financial reach of the average Long Islander, we need to build additional affordable housing that respects the density of existing communities. Smart, affordable housing not only helps preserve our community for future generations, but strengthens our community today. 
For these reasons and more, my team and I are proud to unveil our proposal for Islip Affordable Housing, consisting of the following initiatives: 
Affordable housing shall be defined as housing which costs no more than one-third of the median income in the affected zip code. New development projects proposed in the Town of Islip which contain more than 10 units will be required to offer 30% of said units as affordable housing for different income levels, from senior citizens, to teacher’s aides, to nurses, to teachers and to law enforcement officers, so they could all afford to live in our Town. For every additional 5% of eligible units made affordable, the developers of the property will be eligible for tax rebates and/or abatements. 
Developers will also receive incentives for projects that use smart growth planning, like prioritizing walkability and access to our trains and downtowns. 
New developments seeking a zoning change to increase density must have 50% of the units as affordable housing.
We will also offer a streamlined permit process to applicants over 55 years of age, who intend to modify a section of their house for rental purposes as an affordable housing unit (as defined in this release) in an owner-occupied premises. Said permits will not exceed 10% of the total housing in any hamlet and will consider the income of the applicant so as to ensure that this policy benefits primarily those who need it. This will permit older residents to stay in their homes longer while providing low rent units to younger generations.
The Town will tighten regulations regarding zombie and long foreclosed homes and penalize the current owners and/or financial institutions for permitting these properties to fall into disrepair. The Town shall review tax payment records, move to assume ownership of properties whose owners have not paid taxes, and will target young families to turn these vacant houses into thriving homes. For nearly a decade these homes have sat vacant, serving as a blight on our community. At the same time young people were moving away because of housing prices. Through our action targeting these homes, we can clean up our communities and provide the housing that is needed for a new generation of Islip Residents.
Individuals or families who purchase these zombie or long foreclosed homes will also be eligible for a streamlined permit process in order to create an affordable rental unit as an affordable housing unit (as defined in this release) in owner-occupied premises. Said permits will not exceed 10% of the total housing in any hamlet and will consider the income of the applicant so as to ensure that this policy benefits primarily those who need it. 
Further, basement apartments shall be legal so long as they conform to building code, which we will implement, which will require two exits and appropriate window sizes.
These policies will increase the amount of affordable housing units in Islip, and increase access to them, helping retirees, families, and young people stay and thrive in our town.


Paid for By The Islip Town Democratic Committee
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