Community Voices Heard-Westchester County Chapter Commends The Yonkers City Council For Adopting a new Affordable Housing Ordinance for the County’s largest city
The newly approved Yonkers Affordable Housing Ordinance, would require developers to set aside 20% of their units for affordable housing.
Since 2013, Community Voices Heard has been a leading voice behind the proposed Yonkers Affordable Housing Ordinance. The new policy would require developers to set aside 20% of their units for affordable housing on all new construction. Thanks to the tenacity and commitment of CVH members and partners in city council, this ordinance was passed last night by the Yonkers city legislature after their public hearing. This will be the largest required set aside in the Hudson Valley and has the potential to set a precedent for future affordable housing ordinances.
“I’m 61 years old and I deserve my own home. I don’t have the ability to receive any rental assistance. I've worked a good part of my life and I am still working so I can live and actually get an apartment. And $1,600 is not affordable. It’s not reasonable. It’s not an option. It’s not possible,” said Donna Mebane, a member of Community Voices Heard and a resident of Yonkers during her public testimony at the hearing.
We are looking forward to having Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano sign this into law as soon as possible. Failure to secure a policy with less than 20% is a slap in the face to families who, despite working two or three jobs, frequently struggle to make ends meet and must choose between paying rent and purchasing basic groceries. The impact of 20% will be negligible in terms of resolving the housing crisis. Less than 20% is insufficient and demonstrates that low-income people are not a priority for City Council representatives. We hope the Mayor will stand with its residents and help them stay and thrive in their city.
"I’ve been aligned with CVH since 2011/2012 as a member back with the first ordinance. At that time, I worked for a city council member, and I was making less than $45,0000 a year. I did not make enough money and did not qualify for affordable housing. And the reality is that 10% is not enough. We need affordable housing for working-class residents who are not making 100% AMI and who want quality housing for them and their own,” said Kisha Skipper, a member of Community Voices Heard and a resident of Yonkers during her public testimony at the hearing.
Juanita Lewis, Community Voices Heard’s Deputy Director said: “ This has been a long time coming. During that time more displacement has occurred and housing insecurity has risen throughout the city. This will help us get one step closer to truly making Yonkers affordable for all, not just some. Reality is, Yonkers' lack of affordable housing is a humanitarian crisis that disproportionately affects low-income people and communities of color. We will continue to fight to protect the human right to affordable, dignified housing until we win. “