Community Development | Long Island Community Foundation

America’s first suburb has gone from being one of the most affordable places to raise a family to one of the least. For half a century, Nassau and Suffolk rode a wave of national trends to lead the U.S. in suburban growth and prosperity. At LICF we want to build and sustain strong communities and create economic opportunities that lead to enduring prosperity and livelihoods for low- and moderate-income residents.

We fund projects that:

  • Advance local and statewide policies and practices that promote safe and decent affordable housing options and protect against displacement.
  • Preserve and create multifamily housing for low- to moderate-income families and individuals.
  • Build local support for fair, affordable, and sustainable housing developments.
  • Promote strategies for job creation and linking low-income residents to employment.
  • Develop new sources of innovative community development tools and community wealth building models.
  • Invest in the development of historically underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Here is a sample of what we’re able to accomplish when we combine your generosity with that of others.


Suburbanites who struggle to find affordable rentals now have confirmation of what they suspected: Long Island has far fewer rentals than other areas around New York City, and fewer than 5% are vacant. Despite high demand, the Island is building townhouses and apartments slower than nearby suburbs. Rents have increased far more than incomes, undermining Nassau and Suffolk counties’ efforts to attract young workers and professionals starting careers. Those are the findings of a study by the Regional Plan Association and Long Island Affordable and Fair Housing Initiative Advisory Group, supported by an $86,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation.

Other Key Findings
  • 56% of Long Island renters pay more than 30% of their income for housing.
  • 55% of 20 to 34-year-olds live with parents or other older relatives.
  • The Hudson Valley, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut have two-and-a-half times more available rental homes per household than Long Island.

The study found a major obstacle: Zoning regulations often prevent the construction of residential buildings on small lots in tightly packed neighborhoods near train stations, where they’d benefit the most people and take away the least green space.

The Long Island Community Foundation helped bring together a group of housing advocates, business and civic leaders, academics, and public officials to start coming up with an affordable housing strategy.

The Foundation has worked with the task force and the results: the first Long Island affordable rental housing report, plus community engagement toolkits, a centralized database of affordable housing resources, and coordination between affordable and fair housing supporters.

All this should help future generations find a home — and an affordable one — on the Island.

Reports & Studies
  1. Long Island’s Affordable Rental Housing Crisis Study (Download PDF here)
  2. Analysis of the Long Island Workforce Housing Act (Download PDF here)
  3. Accessory Dwellings on Long Island: An Overview (Download PDF here)