Lack of Affordable and Rental Housing is a Potential Barrier to Long-Term Economic Recovery on Long Island, According to Comprehensive Regional Plan Association Analysis of Each Long Island Town and Village | The Long Island Community Foundation
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October 28, 2020   |   By the Long Island Community Foundation
Lack of Affordable and Rental Housing is a Potential Barrier to Long-Term Economic Recovery on Long Island, According to Comprehensive Regional Plan Association Analysis of Each Long Island Town and Village

Regional Plan Association (RPA) offers detailed data on demographics, housing inventory, and housing tenure for each of Long Island’s 13 towns, two cities, 96 villages as well as for 85 of its largest unincorporated hamlets

Data intended to provide municipal governments, developers and housing advocates with a factual basis to update Long Island’s housing stock to more closely align with today’s needs — including housing for seniors, young adults

NEW YORK, NY – The chasm between Long Island’s housing needs and its existing housing stock is a serious threat to its recovery and future economic growth, according to a comprehensive new index of housing data on each of the island’s villages, towns, and cities and most of its unincorporated hamlets published today by tri-state civic group Regional Plan Association. Investing in units that meet the needs of today’s Long Islanders, including seniors and young adults, will be crucial to economic revitalization on Long Island.

The report, Long Island Housing Data Profiles: A Visual Guide to Better Understand Long Island’s Housing Challenges and Opportunities is a tool that provides Long Island communities with the easily accessible data needed to address the gap between rising housing costs and stagnant incomes. Since 2000, Long Island’s median income has dropped while housing costs have increased by 24%. For each community, RPA offers easy-to-read charts and tables outlining 25 different characteristics, such as changes in home values and rents, household incomes, and housing cost burdens.

An update of profiles first developed by RPA in 2015, it shows how the housing stock of many Long Island communities has changed little since the suburban single-family housing boom of the 1950s, resulting in critical shortages of multifamily units, and housing for young adults and a growing elderly population. It also demonstrates that the legacy of exclusionary housing policy and housing discrimination is still visible in some communities, although Long Island has become increasingly diverse in recent decades.

The birthplace of the suburbs, Long Island today must adapt its housing system to meet the needs of a new era,” said Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association. ​Younger Long Islanders are forced to leave their communities to find housing that’s affordable elsewhere, aging empty-nesters often struggle to downsize, and owners and renters of all ages and backgrounds are saddled with high housing costs. To retain the talent that will drive future economic success, Long Island must diversify its housing stock. RPA’s housing profiles provide a strong, data-based foundation for local officials, developers, and advocates as they work together towards this goal.”

Each of the data profiles within RPA’s housing index reveals the latest numbers available on demographics, housing supply, and housing tenure — whether residents own or rent. The profiles are shown in comparison with Long Island as a whole and in the context of trends over time.

Among the 30,000 data points organized within the index, key takeaways include:

  • Over the last two decades, incomes have failed to keep up with housing costs, for both owners and renters. The median income for Long Island has fallen slightly since 2000, while median housing costs have increased by 24%.
  • More than 300,000 Long Island households are housing cost-burdened, meaning they are spending more than 30%of their income on housing. The highest percentage of these households falls in the lowest-income category.
  • By 2040, the number of people over 65 is expected to increase by 40%, while Long Island’s population under 35 could shrink by 13%. The region needs more diverse housing options for different ages and household life cycles.
  • Housing stock in many Long Island communities reflects the single-family home suburban construction boom of the 1950s. There are five times as many single-family homes than multifamily units across Long Island.

The report is intended to provide municipal governments, housing developers, and fair housing advocates with a factual basis to assess housing needs and update Long Island’s housing stock to better serve renters and buyers. Residents can also use the index to explore their community, compare it to Long Island as a whole, and see housing trends over time. RPA originally developed the profiles in 2015 in consultation with the Long Island Affordable and Fair Housing Task Force. The current index, produced with the generous support of the Long Island Community Foundation, has been updated to provide the latest and most accurate information available.

Our region’s long-term viability depends on quality housing options that reflect the needs of our current and future residents and future workforce,” said Sol Marie Alfonso Jones, Senior Program Officer at the Long Island Community Foundation. ​LICF and its donors have a long history of supporting efforts to promote affordable, safe, and equitable housing knowing it is critical to the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

More rental homes and more affordable homes-for-sale will strengthen suburban neighborhoods on Long Island,” said Jim Morgo, founding President and CEO of the Long Island Housing Partnership and Suffolk County’s first Commissioner of Economic Development and Workforce Housing. However, Regional Plan Association’s updated index of housing data demonstrates that for lack of these assets, some of our communities are becoming less and less affordable, particularly for young people. Fortunately, these housing profiles are a powerful tool which Long Island communities can use to help shore up their future by updating their housing stock to meet the needs of our changing demographics.”

The COVID-19 pandemic on Long Island has only further exposed the lack of and dire need for safe, affordable, diversified housing options,” stated Gwen O’Shea, President and CEO of Community Development Corporation of Long Island. ​But, out of every crisis comes opportunity. The release of RPA’s updated report couldn’t be more timely. CDCLI strongly encourages municipalities and local communities to utilize this fact-based, data-driven tool to shape the housing policies and developments that are so desperately needed for Long Island residents and its economy to thrive.”

Our entire region benefits when more rental apartments are constructed as they help provide much needed housing for our workforce, and thus I commend the Regional Plan Association and Long Island Community Foundation for producing this critical analysis,” said Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association, Inc.

The Long Island Builders Institute wishes to express its deepest thanks for a tremendous effort put forth by the Regional Plan Association regarding housing issues on Long Island,” said Mitchell H. Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Association. ​This report, with its substantial amount of information now made available, will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the housing needs of our communities and allow our elected and appointed officials to support a variety of housing options for everyone.”

 

https://rpa.org/latest/news-release/long-island-housing-data-profiles-press-release

https://www.newsday.com/business/rpa-regional-plan-island-housing-1.50049666

 

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msmith@licf.org

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