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Meaning of ‘affordable’ called into question

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    The proposed site plan for the housing project at the corner of State and North Second streets.
  • Empty
    The proposed site plan for the $55 million housing project at the corner of State and North Second streets.
January 17, 2019 10:04 pm

HUDSON — Hudson Housing Authority officials are assuring city residents that the two buildings proposed across the street from Bliss Towers will be affordable for people earning incomes above the requirements for Section 8 housing.

The authority has proposed 76 units across the street from Bliss Towers, 41 N. Second St., at the corner of State and North Second streets. One building will contain 33 units for seniors, and the other will have 43 units for families. The plan is under review by the Hudson Planning Board.

But the proposal has sparked a community conversation about what “affordable” means.

“We have a lot of young people who are creative but are not making a lot of money but are way down at the bottom of the spectrum, so depending what the income requirements are for these middle requirements you could still be shutting out a lot of people that still make our city vibrant,” said real estate agent Mary Ann Gazzola at an authority meeting at Bliss Towers on Jan. 9.

The Hudson Housing Authority and its Board of Commissioners put a lot of thought into what type of housing was necessary in Hudson when planning its next project, Authority Executive Director Tim Mattice said.

“We wanted a mixed-income community,” Mattice said. “What we’re proposing across the street is not public housing. It will be a mix of workforce housing.”

About 250 new affordable housing units are needed in the city, Mattice said, quoting from the city’s Strategic Housing Action Plan.

“We knew from the beginning based on the city’s strategic housing plan and what needs we felt on gaps in the community wanted a mixed-income community,” Mattice said. “We wanted a mixed-income community. What we are building across the street is not public housing. It is an affordable housing project that ranges from 50 to 65 percent AMI [area median income].”

The median household income is based on Columbia County’s rate in 2017, which is $61,093, Authority Board of Commissioners President Alan Weaver said. The median income for Hudson was $34,314 in 2017, Weaver added.

“In the 43-unit workforce housing, the range of eligible incomes is projected to be from $25,000 to $53,000 a year with projected monthly rents ranging from $630 for a one-bedroom to $1,220 for a three-bedroom apartment,” Weaver said Wednesday.

Those rents will be in line with the city’s Strategic Housing Action Plan, published in 2018, Mattice said. But those numbers are for the county as a whole, not just Hudson, Common Council President Thomas DePietro said.

The 33 proposed senior units will be at 30 percent AMI, which is the same as it is for the towers, Mattice said. It is the hope that seniors will move into the new housing units, freeing up more spots for families in Bliss Towers, Weaver said.

Hudson Housing Authority representatives were expected to make a presentation about the economic impacts of the proposed housing plan at the Economic Development Committee meeting Thursday and approve its contract with Property Resources Corporation at a special Board of Commissioners meeting prior to the city’s meeting.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.