Putnam has grant for affordable housing, but nowhere to put it

The quest to provide affordable housing in Putnam County has not been put on a back burner, according to Ashley Brody, a housing advocate.

“We know that many people are vulnerable, especially in this economy, especially in this housing market,” Brody, CEO of the nonprofit Search for Change, told county legislators during their Feb. 18 Health Committee meeting. Even people of modest means “have a hard time finding and securing” affordable housing in Putnam, he said.

Brody said Putnam’s housing stock has been relatively stagnant while its population has grown by about 75 percent since 1970, from 57,000 to 100,000. “It comes down to a simple supply-and-demand equation,” he said.

Search for Change, based in Valhalla, has been operating in Putnam and Westchester counties for more than 40 years, he said. It is one of many nonprofits in New York State that work to provide affordable housing for people with mental illness, substance-use disorders and chronic physical health conditions.

In 2016, Brody told legislators, the state funded a program to provide 50 units of affordable housing in Putnam, with half of the units for people with special needs. But he said he and his partners have not been able to find a suitable location.

“Space for housing development is limited in all communities, and Putnam County is no exception,” he said, pointing out that the county also has stringent watershed protections and other zoning regulations.

An appropriate site would be close to stores, restaurants and other amenities, and would be in an area properly zoned for such a development, he said. The project could be split into two developments if a site is large enough.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Crocco is a freelance journalist who contributes coverage of the Putnam County legislature. Location: Carmel. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Putnam County politics